Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn - 3DS Review

Recently something very rare happened to me: Someone offered to take the kids away for the weekend - A whole three days! Within an hour of this, my wife, not wanting to waste the opportunity of a child-free weekend, had booked us on a ferry to Calais and into a hotel in Brussels.

Ah, Brussels! The home of Pralines, Beer and...sprouts? Also, the home of Belgium's most famous reporter, Tintin. So what better place to be to review the new Tintin game for the 3DS? Whilst my wife took in the sights and perused the many chocolate shops, I was at the Grand Place snooping around Marlinspike Manor and sword fighting Red Rackham's pirates in the Tintin Boutique. I even managed a quick blast in the Belgium Comic Strip museum (well worth a visit).

Onto the game though... This is a tie-in with the recently released Spielberg/Jackson film. Normally as many gamers know, movie tie-ins are generally to be avoided, but sometimes, a real diamond will appear in the sea of quick cash-ins. I first got to grips with this title back in September at the Eurogamer Expo. Tucked into the corner were a few demo pods running the PS3 version. The demo was a section of the old school platforming levels and it was a treat. In fact, it was one of the highlights of the expo for me. I knew then that if Ubisoft kept this home console format on the 3DS, it would be amazing.

So, was I right?

I am happy to say that not only was I right, but it was so much better than I expected. The game features flying sections, platforming sections, sword fighting, naval battles and even Snowy sections (as in the dog, not levels in snow). The mix of gameplay here is astounding. One minute it features side on platform levels, then it switches to a 3D on rails sword fight using stylus swipes and taps for combat. It could be said that this is just a collection of themed mini games, but at no point does it feel that way. You never know what the game is going to throw at you next and the introduction of a large dog fighting section (as in planes, not Snowy) towards the end of the game really impressed me.

Ubisoft have managed to keep the graphical style of the film in game, whilst telling the between level plots via animated comic panels. This game is a big hit with my eldest daughter, as she likes to follow my progress and so we use the comic panels as a storybook. The 3D effect is really put to good use here as well with the game constantly shifting perspectives. Highlights include the escape from a ship corridor filling with raging water (very Titanic). Some levels seem underused and the Snowy sections are essentially the same routine of bark at rats, dig through tunnels and unlock the door. During the platform levels, Tintin leaps from ledge to ledge with the grace of the Prince of Persia. He can deal with guards using Stealth or via straight up fist fights. The combat is really entertaining: making a deep sea diver skid on spilt oil and slide into a wall never gets old for me and always brings a smile to my face. Additionally, the puzzles are not too taxing and help keep levels varied.

It has been a long time since I played a game that is just so much fun to play. The Adventures of Tin Tin is charming and really captures the Boy's Own adventure feel. It captures everything that I loved about the books as a child and has also helped me to introduce these fantastic characters to my children. It all adds up to a very slick package.

I am happy that I chose the 3DS as the platform for this game as it seems to suit it perfectly. I would go as far to say that at the moment this is the best Uncharted/Indiana Jones style adventure on the 3DS.

Verdict: 8 out of 10

Also, Brussels is beautiful and a lovely place to visit for a long weekend away. Verdict 9/10

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