Oh boy. I know what you are thinking, and I thought the same thing: another CGI animated movie and its obligatory ‘pants’ game. Do these people never learn? Well, O guess they do learn. They have learned that a kid’s movie is a cash cow when it comes to the accompanying game as all kids will cry and scream until their parents just buy them the title. In the meantime, we adults have to sit through hours of pure nonsense to try and show interest in this rubbish drivel.
But I was surprised by Rio, the latest movie-game cash-in. Sure, the game will keep you occupied for all of fifteen minutes, but this game does not pretend to be for you at all. From the very get go it’s clear that this game is aimed straight at the younger gamer. And by younger I mean ten and below. Now before you scoff and laugh it off as an educational toy, you might want to pay attention since a lot of us either have kids or will have kids soon, and this game is the perfect way to get them interested in our beloved hobby.
Mini games for mini people
Rio is a collection of mini-games, all with no more than three controls to remember. These games are all four-player enabled which will allow the whole family to have fun together and learn hand-eye-coordination all at once. You either can play the games in the story mode (which is just the mini-games in bundles of four or five with a cut-scene from the movie in between to remind you of the license – this entire mode will last about one hour), or you can play any of the games in a collection of your choosing against anybody else.
You have a choice of playing one of six of the main characters from the movie, and the only point of this is to allow you to differentiate yourself from the other players – there are no special abilities or skills for each of the birds. Each character has a different colour player indicator so you will know which one is which.
An example of the type of games you are up against, from the easier to the less easy: players all line up at the bottom of an icy roof. Those rascally marmoset monkeys roll snowballs down the roof. Hit a snowball and you roll down to the bottom. Reach the top first and you win. All you need is to manoeuvre back and forth to avoid the snowball with the left stick.
Going up a difficulty level to another game mode: you take turns to stand at the bottom of a shelf and avoid dropping watermelons from your team-mates. Remain the longest and you win. Moving left to right and dropping the occasional watermelon.
On the harder difficulties you will need to manoeuvre around a level, picking up mud balls and throwing them at other players. The cleanest player at the end wins. Controls are limited to moving with the left stick, jumping and throwing.
Some of the levels are very similar to previous ones, and apart from the setting the game is identical. Replace the mud with snow and you have a whole new level. This can become a bit tiring at times.
A special mention has to be made about the look and sound of the game. It captures the feel of an animated movie very well and the animation is quite good. The music is brilliant and the contrast of having some Rio carnival music playing on a snow-filled level makes for fun times!
As you can tell this game will not be any form of challenge for anyone older than ten, and I dare say even they will find it too easy. However, my little niece just recently went to her first cinema experience. The movie obviously had to be Rio as it was the only animated one on show. Not having kids this experience taught me that even these little things need a ‘first time.’ In this case I am sure that my little four year old niece will have an utter blast playing the game.
If you take this game as another movie tie-in similar to the recently release Thor movie and game, you will find it empty and pointless with little relevance to either gamers or movie lovers. However, as a distraction for very young kids, and as an introduction for them to the world of gaming, this game cannot be faulted. It allows parents to play along at the same time, while being easy enough for even non-game playing moms to sit in on the fun. And thus allow kids to fall in love with the best past-time in the world: gaming. Parents, you should really give this a look considering its value price!
- The Good: Fun for all, does not ruin the movie’s plot.
- The Bad: Might get a bit a deja vu on some levels.
- The Ugly: The game has actually very little to do with the movie itself.