|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|
Tossed into the mix are a few on-rails sequences. There are two main types: one that has you riding atop Carol's shoulders, and another where you're rafting. Riding Carol is definitely the more enjoyable of the two, and you'll be zipping under logs, bashing through bramble, and leaping over mountain cliffs with precision timing. Though there's a bit of trial and error involved in completing these levels, they're ultimately a lot of fun. Rafting missions control fine and break up the story pacing nicely, but context-sensitive moments that require you to waggle the Wii Remote do little to enhance the experience.
As a complete package, Where the Wild Things Are is solid; however, there's one particular gameplay component that's reused far too often. Miasma spiders will grab hold of whichever Wild Thing you're traveling with and try to drag them underground. It's up to you to fight off a horde of these creatures before your friend is taken under. You'll have to juggle keeping your Wild Thing buddy above ground by whacking the miasma surrounding him whilst combating the spider creatures nearby. Unfortunately, you'll be forced to replay this same, basic scenario an ungodly number of times, and in an adventure that clocks in at a mere five to six hours in length, it smothers many of the game's finer moments.
In spite of this particular shortcoming, the game hits some real highs. There are moments late in the game that are truly magical, due in large part to a handful of really cool gameplay mechanics. For instance, you can throw a willow seed at one of the Wild Things, causing him to sneeze and leave feathers on the ground, which you can then use to fly across chasms. The selection isn't vast, but such gameplay additions are integrated really well into the story.
From a production standpoint, the game is kind of a mixed bag. Where the Wild Things Are makes a really good first impression, with landscapes that often look next-gen. Many of the breakable objects, however, are blurry and lack detail. The Wild Things, themselves, look a lot like the creatures from the book, but they have a bland appearance when seen up close. When wandering around the village, there are often bouts of slowdown, though it's not much of a problem during level gameplay. It's unfortunate that many of the environments look the same, though there are a few moments late in the game that are super imaginative.
The musical score sits nicely in the background, but the fidelity isn't great. There aren't any themes that will leave a lasting impression, but overall, the soundtrack does a fine job of supporting the gameplay. The dialogue of Max and the Wild Things are voiced throughout the entire game, and all of the actors bring a good performance to their respective roles.
Where the Wild Things Are is, in the span of just a few, short hours, a grand adventure. In spite of an obnoxious amount of repetition related to one specific combat sequence, the game inspires a host of powerful emotions. Once you complete the story, you can go back and redo individual missions, either to collect hidden items or simply to revisit your favorite levels. The gameplay on offer here isn't anything but new, but it's still a fun vehicle for experiencing this timeless classic.
CCC Freelance Writer