|System: X360, PS3, Wii, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Griptonite Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Warner Bros. Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 13, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
When it comes to children's stories, Where the Wild Things Are ranks up there with the most memorable classics of all time. Though the book itself consists of no more than 10 complete sentences, Warner Bros. has managed to squeeze an entire live-action movie out of Maurice Sendak's masterpiece. Tagging along for the ride is Griptonite Games' interpretation of the tale for Wii.
In book form, the main character, Max, is sent to his room for getting into mischief. Max's imagination sees him to the land of the Wild Things and back in time for supper within the space of just a few lines of text. Where the Wild Things Are the video game, however, riffs on the surreal style of the book to tell of an adventure that shoots for the moon.
The dialogue is sparse and used mostly as a means of instructing the player on how to proceed throughout levels. Taking liberties with the original tale, the Wild Things are given very unique personalities, and though you won't develop any real relationships with the creatures, the story is weaved nicely into the gameplay.
Breaking it down to its most basic parts, Where the Wild Things Are can easily be likened to a melding of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time and God of War with training wheels. The game borrows almost completely from other franchises, but the controls and mechanics ensure a pleasant ride.
You will, of course, take control of Max, moving him with the analog stick - A to jump, B to attack, Z to guard, and the C button allows you to interact with various objects. You'll begin your journey, fittingly, on the shores of where the Wild Things are. You're tasked with following Carol (one of the Wild Things) to the Wild Things' village, and in doing so, you'll run through most of the basics.
The gameplay is broken up into platforming, combat, a touch of puzzle-solving, and the occasional on-rails sequence. Making it to the village introduces you to the game's hub, and the rest of the story plays out in a mission-based structure. A tent at the center of the village allows you to continue the story, and the game moves in a completely linear fashion.
Combat is pretty basic. You can mash the B button three times for a combo, or hold B to charge an attack. The variety of enemies is sparse, with fireflies and beetles demanding most of your attention during battle. The main villain of the game, however, is a tar-like substance called miasma, which makes plenty of repeat appearances throughout the adventure.
As simplistic as the combat is, it's satisfying when doled out accordingly. Controls are tight and responsive, and like God of War, putting up your guard mid combo is seamless. Some fireflies drop explosive orbs when defeated, and you'll use these to break past various obstacles or take out large nests of enemies. Each enemy has a unique tell that alerts you it's about to attack; it's an element that helps to keep the combat interesting throughout the game.
The adventure portions, however, are definitely the high points in terms of gameplay. There's really nothing here most gamers haven't seen or done before, but the execution is spot-on, with really strong pacing in terms of platform design. You'll be navigating vine-covered walls, quickly running from stone platforms as they crumble beneath your feet, and swinging from tree roots in order to leap onto the edge of some outcropping.