How to make
a Chicken Little:
(1) Take one
small, feathery character. (2) Give him three loyal friends: Ace, Abby, and
Runt. (3) Place ingredients into one 3D shooter. (4) Add Wii-specific control
mechanics. (5) Stir with Wii remote until it comes to a boil.
Little: Ace In Action lands on Wii with DS anticipation. Everyone who’s played
the DS version is bound to have a vision for what they think the game will be,
or at the very least should be. The DS, as great a system as it is,
does not have the kind of power roaring under Wii’s hood. That technology is
not used to its fullest here – this is merely a console-to-console port. But
new control possibilities are demonstrated.
An Ace In
Chicken Little’s name is on the box, you don’t actually play as the Zach Braff-voiced
character. This adventure is all about his friends.
blaster skills make him the king of on-foot combat. His standard and secondary
weapons are destructive in a non-harmful way. Enemies are typically robots –
destroying them causes no damage to any actual creatures. Pillars, rocks,
machines, and other things that stand out can be used to your advantage. You
must, in some circumstances, destroy a particular machine to open a door
that’s blocked by a force field.
everything you shoot, whether it’s an enemy or stationary object, has the
potential to leave behind Acornium (a raw material that functions as this
game’s currency). Use it in between missions to upgrade your weapons and
controls are an interesting mix of the past (analog character movement via
nunchuck) and present (aim using the Wii remote). The latter has had some
problems on Wii, most notably with Call of Duty 3. Ace In Action isn’t nearly
as stressful. The game does detect your every move (unless you go too far off
screen, more on that next), but it doesn’t push the camera all around if you
screw up. In a weird way that’s not easy to explain, the game is almost like a
3D version of Smash TV – if Smash TV were dummied down with a family-friendly
environment that had fewer enemies to shoot.
bar must be plugged in and pick up your remote in order for the game to work.
If you tilt the remote too far away from the screen in any direction, the game
will stop moving. This is a pain that takes time to get over. You’ll be
expecting the game (more specifically, the camera) to move with increased
speeds as you tilt the remote, just as PC shooters move faster as you move the
can go in any direction by pressing the thumbstick, there isn’t much need to
dodge a sudden attack. Just keep moving and you’ll miss almost all of them.
Health packs appear frequently, so you’ll be able to replenish your energy
nearly every time you need to. Dying is rarely a problem, but if you do die,
most of the levels will take back to a place not far from where you bit the
dust. There are a few exceptions, mainly in Abby’s spaceship levels. Lose your
health there and you might end up having to re-do a less desirable portion of
feel the need to make Ace dodge (despite not really needing to), move the
nunchuck left, right, forward, or back. Good idea, but it doesn’t work. I
fumbled with it for a few minutes, gave up and tried again later – several
times – before finally losing all hope in the system. The idea is that you
push the nunchuck (not its thumbstick, the actual controller attachment) in
the direction that you wish to jump to. But the game often interprets your
action in the opposite direction. Ironically, whenever I adjusted my moves to
follow this pattern, the game corrected itself! I push left to go left, and
Ace dodges right. I do this a couple more times, then push right to make him
go left. Eureka! I try again. Now he’s moving right, but soon he’ll move left
of the Litter
gargantuan oinker and resident tank driver, is a man (pig) of few words and
big destruction. His missions let you control a powerful, enemy-crushing tank
that doesn’t stop for anyone. Since the vehicle is much larger than Ace and
the majority of the enemy’s you’ll be fighting, the levels had to be designed
with size limitations in mind. There’s enough room to move around pretty
freely. Don’t expect any corridors, or too many barriers that will hinder your
progress in a lame and glitchy way. Do expect a constant stream of
robots to blow to pieces.
controls are what you’d expect after using Ace: a nice combination of analog
movement and motion-controlled aiming.
and final playable character is Abby, a sassy goose (or is she a duck?) with a
license to fly … into space. Her levels are mostly boring, but the controls
are worth noting. Everything you know about Ace and Runt is the same – basic
movement and camera/crosshair functions remain unchanged. The difference comes
from the nunchuck, which can be tilted forward or backward to move the ship
down or up, respectively. It sounds insignificant. Joysticks have been doing
that for years. But this function, combined with the other control elements,
makes flying a fun pastime.
downside is the levels themselves. They’re poorly paced, are often slow, and
don’t contain the most exciting combat.
Ace In Action
shares the title, characters, vehicles, and premise of the DS version.
However, they are not the same game. While the DS version is like an
arcade game on a more traditional level, the Wii version is very much an
arcade title in the vein of the modern-day action game. It also packs some of
the best controls I’ve experienced in a Wii shooter. They’re by no means
flawless, but are generally consistent and reliable, suffering primarily from
a lack of crosshair detection when the remote is aimed too far away from the
screen. Theoretically that should make the game move faster, but it doesn’t
look at it that way.
is also an issue, though it shouldn’t be much of a problem for the younger
crowd (who, having not played many shooters yet, might have a higher tolerance
than the rest of us).
The game is colorful and attractive at times, but mostly looks like what you
would have expected to see on GameCube, not a next-gen platform, three years
voice-overs are cool, but the rest of the sound is just barely at the average
level. You won’t be particularly annoyed by it, but you won’t have the desire
to crank your speakers either.
expect? The game is called “Chicken Little.” Big Chicken – that could be
difficult. Angry Rooster would certainly be tough. But not this game.
Same ol’ shooter,
level, mission and puzzle formula. However, the game does offer a cool twist:
a combination of standard and Wii-exclusive control styles that make the game
more interesting than the average shooter.
It’s not exactly
a deathmatch, but you and a friend can jump in the tank or spaceship for a
competition to see who can score the most points.
Worth renting for
any lover of the Wii shooter style, especially if you want to experience more
motion-driven technology. The flight controls are pretty unique – I’ve played
games that are entirely analog or entirely controlled by motion, but not by
both. Ace’s dodge controls aren’t very accurate, though thankfully the rest of
the game is dead-on. The post-finish replay value is questionable, but Chicken
Little fans will at least enjoy themselves while journey lasts.