|System: DS, PS2, Wii, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Fizz Factor||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari / Brash Entertainment||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 2, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Aside from the rats, other enemies include frogs, scorpions, bats, birds, bees, and a host of insects. There is some mild cartoon violence but theres not a lot of blatant killing.
You will eventually acquire a needle that can be used as a sword, among other things, but there are no guns or explosions with which to eliminate the enemy. Mousetraps can be used to rid yourself of unwanted vermin, but you have to be careful not to take the bait yourself. Luring enemies to the trap will deactivate it, but if you dont have any takers, youll have to look for items you can use to throw at I,t so that it wont snap your little head off when you pass by. These puzzle elements are not only challenging, but they fit in nicely within the context of the storyline and the gameplay.
As in any traditional side-scroller, there are a variety of goodies to collect that will do everything from increasing your points to giving you a special ability. Hidden within the levels are musical notes that you can collect. Each series of notes will unlock a new instrument to play along with the soundtrack. Its a cool idea that sounds as good as it er sounds. The music is extremely well done and theres not much you can do to improve on it except to add more color to it.
Speaking of color, Despereaux is definitely a cartoon-come-to-life. Everything from the animation to the static storybook panels exhibits a quality generally lacking in movie-inspired games. The controls work great; they are very responsive and precise. Despereaux makes plenty of interesting noises when exerting himself, or taking a hit. I could definitely have stood to see more cutscenes and voiceacting. That would have helped to flesh out the story better.
I have not read the book, nor will I ever read it or see the movie for that matter. I found the storyline to be lacking cohesion and continuity, but you dont need to know whats going on to try to save the princess. The game is divided into numerous chapters, each with their own levels. It will take most gamers little longer than a day to play through the entire game. Aside from going back and collecting more notes, theres essentially no replay value here at all. While theres no doubt that Despereaux will make a great present or stocking stuffer, if youre considering it for yourself, you would be advised to rent it.
CCC Senior Writer