|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Ubisoft Shanghai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Ubisoft||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 15, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Every now and again you'll have to jump into the Outtasighter for a bit of clean up around a level. The Outtasighter has two main functions that allow you to either clean nasty spills or pick up large food items for disposal. The handling works fine, though it's not the most exciting element of the game by any means. It does serve to break up the gameplay fairly well, however, and it's a gadget that isn't overused.
Though we found the gameplay in Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to be entertaining pretty much the whole way through, it does have its shortcomings. For starters, the camera, though most times very competent, tended to leave us in blind spots for brief moments throughout almost each and every level. It's a minor complaint, though, since it rarely hindered the gameplay in any meaningful way.
Where the camera really becomes a problem, however, is in multiplayer. There is a two-player, cooperative option, where a friend or family member can join in to play as Steve the Monkey, but the camera always stays locked on player one. If your buddy can't keep up, they'll often fall victim to damage or death while stuck in some other part of a level.
Lastly, the game is short - really short. You can redo missions, and there are puzzle pieces to earn for collecting all of a certain type of item throughout a given level. However, the unlockables and upgrades are extraneous at best, and the replay value here isn't very strong at all. The game's fun for a single pass, but you'll be hard-pressed to find inspiration to take it for an additional spin.
Ubisoft really must be commended, though, for a solid presentation. There's nothing particularly exciting about Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on Wii, but it's still a very polished product with component parts that all work and come together smoothly. Flint's laboratory acts as the game's hub, with an area for upgrades, unlockables, and missions. The visuals aren't great in terms of fidelity, but the motif and art design are well crafted. The framerate is smooth for the duration of the game, with no noticeable hiccups or glitches.
The music is oddly serious in contrast to the art style and story, but it's a strong and cohesive soundtrack, regardless. Sound effects are a subtle boon, making the collection of food items throughout levels a guilty pleasure.
Movie-licensed games have been a mainstay since the days of the Atari 2600, and obviously there's money to be made if companies continue to publish such titles. To our delight, game makers are doing a much better job these days of giving gamers something truly enjoyable to accompany their favorite movies. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on Wii might lack depth and perhaps a little bit of soul, but it's certainly a worthy gaming experience for anyone looking to extend their enjoyment of this recent summer blockbuster.
CCC Freelance Writer