As per most games adapted from a silver screen, ‘Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit’ follows the storyline set forth in the movie. Wallace and Gromit have a humane pest control company, wittingly called ‘Anti-Pesto.’ They have been hired by almost all of the townspeople to keep watch over their gardens, as there is a huge (pun intended) vegetable contest, aptly titled the ‘Annual Giant Vegetable Contest’ with the grand prize going to the person who can grow the largest, most beautiful vegetable.
To start off the story, Wallace and Gromit get a call from Lady Tottington who requires their services to rid her property of dozens of rabbits, as the festival takes place on her property in a few days. Upon capturing the rabbits, they take them back to their place and place them in cages, as they have done with all of their previous captures. Wallace, being the inventor that he is, has created a mind control device that he is going to try to use to rid the rabbits of their vegetarian desires, in hopes of keeping the rabbits from going after the townsfolk’s greenhouses. Upon trying to complete the operation, things go awry, and Wallace ends up creating a larger menace than they originally had to deal with, and so the story continues. . .
The graphics in the game mimic the world of Wallace & Gromit very well. The bright colours and exaggerated cartoony characters really bring you into the world of Wallace & Gromit. As is the case of pretty much every game out there, some textures are done really well, and some are a bit lacking, especially when the camera zooms in a bit. Cut-scenes are handled by the in-game engine, and are done admirably well. They keep to the claymation style, and the game creators did a very good job of keeping the graphics almost identical to the way the scenes unfold in the movie.
The sounds in the game are pretty much what I expected. The music is in line with the pace of the game, and I would assume, similar to the sound effects from the soundtrack of the movie, even though I can’t remember the movie that specifically. Characters are voiced-over, so you don’t have to worry about lots of reading, which is a bonus for the younger group, which this game is primarily marketed towards. Youngsters can watch the cutscenes, get a few laughs as they interact with the townsfolk, and then continue playing.
The gameplay is pretty standard fare. There is lots of roaming, lots of jumping, and as per the game’s main plot, lots of capturing rabbits. The character control makes all of this pretty easy, but to mix it up a little bit, the game allows you to control three characters. Wallace and Gromit are the main pair that you take out into most missions and you can switch between them with a simple button press; but they also allow you to control Hutch, a rabbit that befriends Gromit. There are minor differences in the characters, such as Wallace having a higher double-jump than Gromit, and Gromit being able to wall jump in certain spaces to reach higher areas, but overall controls are the same.
The game also features quite a few inventions, you know, as Wallace is an inventor. The Bungun is the major invention used, as it captures and holds rabbits so you can deposit them into the storage bins. Others are the Airblast, Screwdriver, Auto-Brolly, Harvester, and more. There is also a Day/Night system in place, allowing you to perform a variety of tasks, depending on whether it’s day or night. In order to change the time of day, you just have to stand on certain Sundials in the city, which you can locate by looking at the map.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try out the co-op feature, but I could see it being a fun time as there are certain parts of the game that require interaction from more than one character at a time. For example, certain doors require one character to interact with the switch while the other character goes through the door. If you are playing the game in single player, this situation is automated by pressing a button on the controller near a designated icon on the ground. However, this would be a great chance for a parent to spend some quality time with their child and experience the fun.
Every once in a while, as with a lot of games since the advent of 3D gaming, I found the camera angles could be a bit hard to deal with. This problem could be adjusted within a few seconds by using the right analog stick, but sometimes in a tight situation a few seconds is all you have. The major downfall I encountered in the game, however, was some of the painfully long loading times. Some lasted 30 seconds to a minute, and in any game that is just too long to stare at an almost blank screen. Developers do as much as they can to immerse you into the world they create, and the next thing you know you are staring at a black screen with a simple animated icon on it while you twiddle your thumbs for almost a minute.
As far as movie games go, this is one of the better ones; but it is also a different style of game. Instead of trying to throw you into a short, fast paced, action packed summer blockbuster atmosphere, they take you into the world of Wallace and Gromit and expand on the storyline, allowing you to interact with townspeople to experience it from their point of view. I was surprised at how much content there was as I expected it to be very quick and easy, catering to its target market. However, it has a lot of meat to it. There is a lot of collecting to do however, so you will have to have a lot of patience if you want to complete all of that. Overall, this is a fun, solid gaming experience, fun for the whole family, especially if they want to play it together.