reviews\ Dec 22, 2011 at 10:22 am

The Adventures of Tintin Review


Some of you may not be familiar with Tintin, the young explorer who finds himself on the verge of a number of adventures.  This week marks the United States release of Steven Spielberg’s CG-animated take on the Herge-created hero, as he seeks out a mysterious ship and the secrets it harbors.  With that, Ubisoft has released a sub-licensed game that’s based on the film, to a certain extent, putting players in control of Tintin (and, in some cases, his buffoonish cohort Captain Haddock) as they escape trouble and seek answers from the mysterious Unicorn vessel.

Getting into this game the first few minutes, we could tell it’s an adventure better suited for younger players.  It’s divided between some exploratory interludes and chase sequences, but mostly concentrates on side-scrolling platforming challenges.  You start out working your way through a huge mansion (after the Unicorn is stolen from you by some shady types), but the levels expand greatly as you go along, as danger picks up and the truth slowly begins to reveal itself.  It’s like Uncharted 3, but without going so much into overdrive.

That’s not to say it’s bad.  There are times that Tintin does lull, particularly during sequences that involve motion controls and with a couple of the chase sequences.  But the rest of the game moves about at a pretty fair pace, with plenty of enemies to knock out, some puzzles to solve (unlocking a door by having your dog Snowy retrieve a key through an air duct, for instance) and golden insects to find.  The vehicle stages are a mixed bag, between plane sequences that are a little too simple and bike sequences that don’t last long enough.  Nevertheless, not too shabby.

Still, we recommend skipping the motion controls.  Both the Kinect and PlayStation Move are used barely enough to register as anything but interesting.  We weren’t exactly thrilled with twisting sails around or using quick jabs to get ahead in a stage.  You’re better off sticking with the regular controller.

Along with the single player game, there’s also an interesting co-op side game, where you work alongside Tintin and Haddock, working as a team.  You can either switch between the two using a simple button press, or have a friend jump in for two-player fun.  While hardly a monumental co-op experience, it is fun and breezy, and helps prolong the replay value of Tintin a bit.

Ubisoft Montpelier do go the extra mile when it comes to the game’s presentation.  They could’ve easily slap-dashed this game together in a hurry.  Instead, they give the animation some vibrant touches, particularly during chase sequences.  Furthermore, the levels actually have some hidden secrets throughout that make them worth exploring.  There are times it looks a little awkward, though, and the camera angle isn’t exactly in your favor (like when a car is chasing you down a path and you aren’t quite sure which way to run next).  And for the record, the 3D support is barely there.  We couldn’t even tell when the 3D effects began and ended.

Likewise, the audio is good stuff.  Some samples from the film’s soundtrack are included here, and come across as great.  Meanwhile, the voice acting sounds like it came from the film, even if the exact actors weren’t used.  They’re solid sound-alikes.  The sound effects could’ve been a little meatier, but considering what they’re doing here, they’re acceptable.

The Adventures of Tintin probably won’t find mention in the same breath as other great adventure games – Uncharted it ain’t.  However, if you’ve got kids that can’t wait to see the movie, or are looking for a good caper to play along with them, Tintin just might be your go-to guy. 

[Reviewed on PlayStation 3]


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