|System: Wii, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Gojii Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 18, 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|
The only issue with the controls we had, really, was when attempting to zoom in and out. Oddly enough, the developers mapped the zoom feature in a way that requires you to hold the B button while moving the cursor either toward the middle of the screen to zoom in, or further from center to zoom back out. It works but just barely. The frame jumps all over the place when using this feature and finding a happy contrast can be quite frustrating. Once you're zoomed in, however, you'll be required to use the D-pad to scroll to other portions of a background. Selecting items or areas of a background to investigate is done by pressing the A button.
Your stats are accounted for along the way, but there's no online leaderboard to upload them to. Additionally, there are no real unlockables to speak of in the game, and again, without any incentive linked to your accuracy throughout the adventure, stats becomes fairly meaningless, as does figuring out puzzles without the aid of the hint system.
Since most of the gameplay is worked into the game's visuals, it's very disappointing that so little effort seems to have gone into Escape the Museum's presentation. There is very little animation in the game, and most of it is done using quick changes between two simple frames of 2D artwork. The effect for a flickering light, for instance, is executed by having one frame of a light turned on being periodically swapped with a frame of the light turned off. The cutscenes, too, are static, cartoon-style stills, and though nothing ever looks ugly per se, the game just looks and feels very ho-hum overall.
The music, however, is actually somewhat entertaining and fits the theme of the story. Cadences resolve nicely whenever Susan and her daughter exchange dialogue, and you'll get some nice, little suspense pieces thrown in while investigating various rooms. The voice work, too - what little of it there is - is surprisingly adequate, but when matched alongside the actual gameplay, the overall aural presentation is hardly enough to make Escape the Museum a compelling experience. The story moves forward with a decent pacing, even if the realistic premise is at odds with the idea that Susan can somehow manage to carry hundreds of museums pieces along with her as she tackles life-threatening obstacles.
Escape the Museum may be priced to meet your budget, but in the end it's no bargain. Though the escape missions are somewhat entertaining while they last, the rest of what's on offer here is well below par. Finding items hidden within static frames is perhaps the most antiquated form of gameplay still being manufactured, and being forced to redo it over and over doesn't make for a good time. Yes, the controls work okay, but that's no great distinction for a point-and-click adventure. Furthermore, the game makes no use of Wii's motion functionality, and we've seen more interesting gameplay packed into children's DVDs. It's easy to stop and consider a game with a $20 price tag, but truly, your money will likely be better spent elsewhere.
CCC Freelance Writer