|System: PC, X360 (XBLA)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Telltale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Telltale Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jun. 16, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Given the dog-centric nature of Muzzled!, Gromit fans will be pleased to learn hes very much the star of the episode. While there are moments where youll switch back and forth between the two main characters, youll only control Wallace directly for a brief time towards the end of the adventure. Additionally, each of the stray dogs youve befriended in the game have their own peculiar personalities, behaviors, and traits that come into play at different points in the game. Gromits interactions with his less brainy K-9 pals are highly amusing, and the way theyre worked into the games puzzles are quite clever.
Little, if anything, has been changed regarding the control scheme throughout the series. Everything is functional for both platforms, but Xbox 360 owners have the more comfortable experience. PC gamers still have to deal with the slightly awkward combination of moving characters around with the WASD keys and interacting with objects with the mouse. The Xbox 360 controller feels better suited to the setup, due to the analog stick controls and shoulder button inventory management. In either case, changes in camera angles when moving from scene-to-scene can throw off your direction, since youll have to stop moving and start again to re-orient you directional controls. Its not a huge quibble overall, but its something that would have been nice to see fixed to make the movement more consistent between different locations.
The very claymation-like presentation that matches the original Wallace & Gromit shorts and the cartoonish vibe seen in the scenery and character models is still a great mixture. Subtle changes to old locations gives you good reason to poke around some of the same places youve explored in the past installments, and the new scenery to explore in the fairgrounds definitely gives Muzzled! a fresher look and feel than the previous episode. Throughout the series, all of the different characters are excellently voiced with amusing accents and strange personalities. A jovial and upbeat score also boosts the presentation. That said, the games audio is a little off in terms of the relation between speech volume and music volume; the best solution is to suffer through the subtitles.
So far, each episode has culminated in an absurdly entertaining climax where all hell breaks loose with great comedic effect. Previous encounters include a high-speed road chase against a sinister queen bee and a whirlpool-driven vortex of chaos. Muzzled follows suit with a stellar and satisfying conclusion thats as inventive as it is laughable. The final installment of this four-part series is quickly approaching, and were anxious to see how the final episode plays out. Overall, Wallace & Gromit has turned out to be a strong series, but Muzzled! thankfully delivers that extra kick weve been hoping for since the second episode.
CCC Staff Contributor