Tag Archives: Disney

Frozen: Olaf’s Quest (Nintendo DS & 3DS)

Developer(s) – 1st Playable Productions

Publisher(s) – GameMill Entertainment

PEGI – 3

Based on the hit Disney film of 2013, Frozen: Olaf’s Quest is a 2D platforming game centering around the anthropomorphic comic relief snowman Olaf, who despite being a snowman, yearns to experience the summer. However, his game makes for a very fleeting experience; not only compared to other games based on existing popular licenses, but compared to the film itself.

Graphics – 5/10

Although the game is set mainly in mainly snowy environment, there is a small basis in level design diversity, sine the settings do sometimes alternated between those and summery settings on beaches, and two levels are even set on a boat in the ocean. However, apart from that, there isn’t a great deal to marvel at in terms of conceptual design, and I think it would only work fractionally better for fans of the film.

Gameplay 1/10

The object of the game is to clear 60 short levels whilst gathering as many collectible items as possible. But although I prefer easier more accessible games as opposed to more challenging ones such as Mega Man or Castlevania, I found this title pathetically easy; even for a kid’s game. There is no true basis in either legitimate challenge or enjoyable gameplay, and I have played many other games aged 3+ infinitely more engrossing; Luigi’s Mansion and Super Mario 3D World to name but a few.

Controls – 10/10

The best thing I can say about this title is at that there’s no problems with the controls at least. There is actually some small basis in innovation with the ability to throw Olaf’s head to collect certain items that are otherwise unobtainable. It could be said that the player character moves too slowly, but in a game that has takes an average of one minute to clear each level, I go and that this has little bearing on the overall control scheme.

Lifespan – 0.5/10

To complete all 60 levels, even to 100%, will take an average of a mere hour, since completing the game to 100% is incredibly easy. But since there’s no viable incentive for doing so, I wouldn’t advocate even playing it for that long. A lot of platformers, especially today, can be made to last far longer, but since there’s very little enjoyment to be had in terms of gameplay, and absolutely rely no replay value, it feels less like that much of a fleeting experience.

Storyline – 0/10

presumably following the events of the ffilm, after the character Elsa grants him an immunity to melting past the point of winter, Olaf sets out on a quest across the winter and summer with no apparent goal other than to collect a bouquet of flowers for the main character Anna. The game was apparently heavily criticised for its lack of story by most mainstream review sites; and after playing it, its easy to see why. Though I had an idea of how empty the game was in terms of story, I was still sat on the fence about it, since it had found its way into the top 40 on multiple occasions this year, and that games based on licenses don’t generally tend to sell as well unless they’re pretty good; especially my following the release of ET back in 1982, which I will be talking about later on in this blog. But unfortunately, on this occasion I was disappointed with this title, not only in terms of gameplay, but because of its lack of story too.

Originality – 1/10

As far as I could deduce whilst playing this game, the only vague sense of uniqueness did indeed come from that one aformentioned gameplay mechanic of throwing Olaf’s head to reach distant items. But apart from that, it does play out like a largely bogstandard 2D platformer with a small Angry Birds influence behind it too. There was nothing present to truly make it stand out among the many games of its kind that had come before it.

Furiious

Furiious

In summation, Frozen: Olaf’s Quest is a boring atrocity of a game, and I can’t figure out for the life of me why it is currently selling better than many huge hits and excellent games of 2014, such as InFamous: Second Son and Child of Light. To me, it does indicate that although there have been great games released based on existing licenses in recent years, there are also some dreadful ones made from time to time that undeservedly hog away attention from games that are due more recognition.

Score

17.5/60

2.5/10 (Barely Playable)

Duck Tales (Nintendo Entertainment System & Game Boy)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) – Capcom & Disney Interactive Studios

Designer – Yoshinori Takenaka

Producer – Takuro Fujiwara

PEGI – 7

Released back in 1989, and having many key personnel from the team behind Mega Man, including the franchise’s creator Keiji Inafune taking charge of character design, Duck Tales went on to become a critical and commercial success on the back of the immensely popular Disney cartoon series. It’s regarded by many as one of the best, and indeed most challenging, Game Boy games ever developed, and I found that whilst it is challenging, it was developed in such a way that didn’t make it inaccessible to me, unlike Mega Man, and I ended up spending a lot of time on this game when I was a kid as a result.

Graphics – 8/10

Though the NES version had a massive assortment of colourful environments, despite the console’s limited colour palette, what the original Game Boy lacked in colour variety and technological advancement developers had to make up for in conceptual design; Duck Tales is a classic example of this. Set in a variety of 5 different locations, including The Himalayas, The Amazon River and even the Moon, it in turn allowed for a wide assortment of enemy designs and different types of scenery to accompany each stage. The soundtrack is also arguably one of the best 8-BIT music arrangements in gaming, which tracks for the Amazon and The Moon standing out to a majority of players.

Gameplay – 8/10

Like Mega Man, Duck Tales is also a non-linear 2D platformer, with players being given the facility to complete the game in any order they desire. There are also unlockable areas within each of the five different levels, giving players cause to revisit levels multiple times, adding to the game’s longevity. It was also one of the first video games to include multiple endings, since there is a good ending and a bad ending to unlock dependent on how much money the player accumulates.

Controls – 10/10

Though the 2D platforming game formula had been well and truly mastered at this time, Duck Tales introduced one in particular mechanic that made thing pretty interesting; the pogo stick jump. Scrooge can use his cane like a pogo stick to attack enemies as well as traverse dangerous platforms in order to reach otherwise impassable or secret areas hidden throughout the game. It would have been particularly difficult for developers to introduce new ideas into a formula that had arguable been definitively perfected by Nintendo with the advent of Super Mario Bros, but Capcom managed to keep it fresh with their plethora of Mega Man game as well as Duck Tales.

Lifespan – 6/10

Clocking in at around an hour and a half, it lasts around the average of what a game was expected to last at that time. Less experienced players will spend some more time on it, since it can take a while to master the control mechanics to effectively get past each individual challenge the game throws at them, but there had been a select few games on the NES that lasted a great deal longer than this, and so the game wasn’t able to stand out in this respect at least.

Storyline – 5.5/10

The game also marginally stands out in terms of story. It simply revolves around the same concept of the cartoon series, in which Scrooge McDuck, along with his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie, and his friend Launchpad McQuack are on an adventure to increase Scrooge’s fame ahead of his closest rival, Flintheart Glomgold. It’s only slightly more unique than most video game plots at that time, since it doesn’t revolve around a white knight having to save the damsel in distress, but although most people didn’t play games for the story at this time, there is indeed a lack of it in this title.

Originality – 7/10

As I alluded to, it was extremely difficult to make a winning 2D side scrolling game in the time when Nintendo had pioneered the industry standards with the original Super Mario Bros, but Capcom managed to accomplish that with Duck Tales by introducing the additional control mechanics, as well as a non-linear progression along with hidden secret areas. It was one of many licensed Disney games that Capcom went on to develop that sticks out in the minds of gamers everywhere, and helped to establish them as powerhouses within the industry.

Happii

Happii

In all, Duck Tales is indeed one of the best platformers on the Game Boy, as well as the NES, and a gaming experience that still very much holds up to this day. Though it conformed to many of the story limitations synonymous with gaming at the time, it excelled in the aspect that truly matters; the gameplay.

Score

44.5/60

7/10 (Fair)

Aladdin (Super Nintendo)

Developer(s) – Capcom

Publisher(s) – Capcom

Designer – Shinji Mikami

Rating – N/A

Part of Capcom’s repertoire of licensed games, Aladdin for the Super Nintendo was in fact in direct competition with a counterpart for the Sega Mega Drive developed by Virgin Games, which were both mat with critical and commercial acclaim; with the Mega Drive port becoming the third best-selling game for the system behind Sonic 1 and 2. The Super Nintendo game was developed by Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame, who went to say that he actually preferred the Mega Drive version, but in my opinion, the Super Nintendo version is much more challenging, and more enjoyable by proxy.

Graphics – 10/10

With what technology was available at the time, the developers captured the feel of the film perfectly. The city of Agrabah is shown in every different time frame, ranging from day to sunset to night, and the Cave of Wonders has the same dark and ominous atmosphere, along with some pretty elaborate level designs. There was also even a level added in the form of the Desert Temple, depicting Aladdin attempting to rescue his companion Abu, after he falls of the carpet whilst riding back to Agrabah, which doesn’t happen in the film.

Gameplay – 7/10

The game is a traditional 2D side scroller, which were commonplace at the time. Players are required to adapt to the structure of each level in order to get around as best as they can; similar to the Lion King video game, but with a great element of challenge in my opinion. Shinji Mikami stated that the reason why he thought the Mega Drive port to be better was because of the fact that Aladdin wields a sword, but in my opinion, not only does the lack of a weapon make for a heightened sense of challenge, but it also better adheres to Aladdin’s character in the film, since he likes to improvise.

Controls – 10/10

There are no issues with the games controls whatsoever. Its actually quite interesting to witness how well the developers were able to modify the 2D platforming formula by giving Aladdin so many different acrobatic abilities in order to over come all the different obstacles in each level. The level whereby this factor is at its most prominent is in the Cave of Wonders, with the player having to make very careful precision jumps over narrow rock and skipping stones.

Lifespan – 5/10

The game can take just over an hour to complete, which at this time was just about the average lifespan of a 2D platformer. With the advent of Super Mario World, Nintendo had proven that 2D Side scrollers could be made to last considerably longer, whilst also having much more substance in gameplay, so at this point, Aladdin’s lifespan was made to seem underwhelming in comparison.

Storyline – 6/10

Depicting the story of the film, it follows a young street urchin named Aladdin, who comes across a magic lamp, and uses the genie inside to change the course of life for the better. As was customary in video games at the time, there wasn’t a great of emphasis on the story, with the developers merely sticking to the broad strokes. They added another sub plot to it in order to in turn add a new level, but of course, its much better to simply watch the film to get the best feel for the story; the comedic element is much stronger, as it is provided by the late great Robin Williams as the genie.

Originality – 5/10

Unfortunately, since this game followed the trends and tropes of what most games did at the time, it’s a clear sign that this game was rushed out to retail to coincide with the film to a certain extent. But regardless, the game isn’t without its charms; it’s a challenging title, in lieu of Capcom tradition, which isn’t too inaccessible, and presents players with an experience that stands out among a fair few other side scrollers released at the time.

Happii

Happii

Overall, Aladdin was a fairly well developed licensed game, made in a time before the medium of games based on pre-existing license would generally become frowned upon within the industry. Batman: Arkham Asylum would go on to break that notion many years later, but Capcom made good use of many Disney licenses, and this game is no exception.

Score

43/60

7/10 (Fair)