Tinker Bell and the Lost TreasureESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Create & customize up to 5 fairies
Online integration with Pixie Hollow
In a fitting coincidence this review of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure is being written during a family vacation at Disney World. Really, I am not kidding. Putting the Disney badge on pretty much anything is virtually a license to print money but this does not necessarily always translate to quality though. Let’s find out how this latest DS game from Disney Interactive Studios fares shall we.
I was really impressed with how The Lost Treasure looks. I normally do not get over excited with visuals in DS games, but the combination of realistic backgrounds and smooth character animations give this game a very polished look. Things aren’t really super complex beyond that though and there’s rarely much going on at any one time. This probably lends itself to a prettier look and in the end it works well.
While the game’s sound doesn’t meet the level of its looks, it is still quite acceptable. All the standard fairy sprinkles and twinkles are present and they will satisfy the young girls playing this game to no end. Sadly, as in most DS titles of this type, dialogue isn’t spoken and must be read, so the real young ones may have some difficulty in this area. Overall the sound gets the job done and doesn’t hurt the game in any way.
While technically not a sequel to last year’s Tinker Bell game, The Lost Treasure builds upon the same engine and adds several features. The game is based on the straight to DVD movie release of the same name and loosely follows its story. You control Tinker Bell as the Fairy World prepares for something called the Autumn Festival. Yes, there’s more to the story but for the sake of keeping things interesting we’ll leave it at that.
The game is broken into two parts: Fairy Mode and Story Mode.
Fairy mode appears to expand upon the previous game where you can create and customize a fairy and then collect items through various mini-games. The most interesting and valuable part is that this mode interacts with Disney’s online Pixie Hollow. Players can share their creations and what they’ve collected online. I was both intrigued and happy to see this type of integration with a DS game, and it is something I think Disney does well.
In Story mode, you control Tinker Bell with the stylus, pointing on the touch screen where you want her to go. As you explore the world you will meet several characters that help to tell the story through things to do and side quests to complete. The story is painfully short though. Even my eight year old niece complained about it being too short. That being said, I should note that it did pass the eight year old test because she did like the game in general.
The stylus control I mentioned earlier is fantastically simple and smooth. I give the developers Hyde credit for combining these two qualities. You can move from area to area either by tapping on coloured arrows in each area or, thankfully, via the menu. Travelling from area to area is fun at first but it can get tedious. This is where it is a great option to have a choice in getting to key places directly. Also, a bit of a nitpicky point here, I found it odd that the arrows prompting you which area to go to next seem backwards in colour. They are either green or pink. I’ve always thought green meant go but in this case it is pink that shows the way. I know, I know, it’s not a major thing, just a personal observation.
There are several mini-games that are played as you progress through the story. These range from clever or simple puzzle games to plain silly platforming styled ones. Young girls are going to love sprinkling pixie dust on things I’m sure! Unfortunately the platforming games are easily the game’s weakest part. They are controlled similarly to the rest of the game in that you use the stylus to move Tinker Bell. I see this being a potential source of frustration for younger gamers in that there’s some pretty precise timing involved thanks to the control method of using the stylus. Heck there was even too much trial and error even for my liking.
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