Where The Wild Things Are appears to be a title aimed at children but rather like Toy Story 3, there is plenty for adults to enjoy as well. Although the game was released at the same time as the Spike Jonze movie it does not follow the same plot, opting for a new story in which malevolent black ooze is threatening to consume both the Wild Things and their island home.
As the newly crowned King Max, your task is to investigate and ultimately destroy the black goop in a series of platforming levels. These sections are reminiscent of Prince of Persia, perhaps even a hint of Uncharted. During the levels you may be accompanied by a Wild Thing who can be instructed to clear blocked areas or help with combat.
During the game you will also get to steer a boat down a fast flowing river and another section has you riding Carol (voiced by Sopranos star James Gandolfini) as he plunges through the forest.
Linking the levels together is a large sandbox area in which Max can interact with the Wild Things and any collectables he has picked up during the main levels.
For example, if Max has collected twenty five seeds then he will unlock a plant in the garden which he can climb to access new areas. You can also start mud fights with the Wild Things or make a swarm of bees chase them across the landscape.
So why is this distinctly average game (53% on Metacritic) worth a second glance? Well it’s rather charming and much like my previous recommendation of Splatterhouse, a game you can pick and play without having to think too much.
The platforming levels play out rather like a cute version of Prince Of Persia with a soupcon of Uncharted. Also in the mix is a hint of Team Ico – there are some gorgeous levels and the music is haunting, giving the sense of being alone on a desolate island and, well, Where The Wild Things Are.
The story is well thought out and acted superbly and if you haven’t got a lump in your throat during the final scene then you’re not human. The game, much like the film, is rather darker than your average children’s tale.
There are problems with the game, some may find the limited combat anoying or find the levels rather boring but I think game has a unique charm. Was it worth £40 when it was released? Certainly not, but it’s well worth dropping in your rental queue to play through on a rainy Sunday afternoon.