The Spiderwick Chronicles Review
Xbox 360 | Wii | PS2 | PC | DS
The Spiderwick Chronicles box art
System: X360, Wii, PS2, PC, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Stormfront Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Sierra 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Feb. 5, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+ 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Despite all that, the game design is pretty nice and acceptable. It's not a big-budget game so the graphics are not ultra realistic and detailed, but there's a good level of realism in the main characters, the environments, the enemies, and especially the mansion, which looks like in the movie, although less dusty and cluttered. There aren't a whole lot of glitches graphics-wise, which is nice. Also, they included a few cutscenes from the movie itself, which help you understand the events even better. However, this can be seen as a shortcut for the developers, so they wouldn't have to create too many animated cutscenes within the game. Most of the actual movie cutscenes lack the sounds and dialogue and don't quite make sense altogether, unless you've watched the movie first.

The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot

The game's soundtrack, although similar to the one in the film, was composed specifically for the game; it works well with the story and brings the fantasy to life. The sound effects are fine as well. What I didn't like was the voice acting, which seemed like another way to keep the budget low. The characters in the game talk just like the ones in the movie. However, they just recorded a few sound clips and threw them here and there; you'll hear them when you interact with objects and sometimes when talking to a character. The rest of the dialogue is just displayed on the screen with subtitles. Most of the time, the voice-over sounded somewhat abrupt and unnatural; the spoken dialogue should have had more rhythm and consistency.

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The game also has a very basic local multiplayer mode for up to two players. Here, lots of sprites will be fluttering their wings around; the battle consists in catching as many fairies as possible, sometimes within a time limit, others with a set number of sprites you need to catch. The gameplay happens in just one screen, instead of split-screen mode; this makes both players fight for the same sprites, although it's annoying to try to go somewhere while the other player is pulling towards the other side of the screen. It's not a very exciting multiplayer mode, but it's probably fun enough for kids. You can't play online though, which is just fine.

In conclusion, The Spiderwick Chronicles is a more than decent game that will generally appeal to the younger ones. If you haven't watched the movie, you might feel a bit lost sometimes trying to follow the story. On the other hand, the quest log is very helpful and helps players stay focused on the game's multiple goals. The game is not spectacular but looks and plays well enough to keep the players entertained, and it doesn't entail much frustration, unlike other games of the family action / adventure genre.

By Maria Montoro
CCC Site Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.6
Graphics
Pretty good graphics for a kids game, although nothing ultra realistic or detailed.
3.8
Control
It's a user-friendly game that most kids should be able to play without a problem, despite the camera troubles you may encounter.
3.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Background music from the movie works well with the game. The voice-over clips are too short and abrupt, so the acting doesn't feel natural.
3.8
Play Value
Younger players who enjoyed the movie should be entertained with the video game. It's not too difficult and it follows almost the same plot as the movie, with some more added fighting.
3.6
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Their World is Closer Than You Think.
  • Unlock and explore the hidden world of the seen and unseen from the Spiderwick Chronicles movie.
  • Battle strange and enchanted creatures in this spellbound world of eerie adventures, as you fight to stop a rising evil.
  • Play as Jared, Mallory, Simon or Thimbletack, each with their unique abilities.
  • Battle swarms of goblins and otherworldly creatures.
  • Capture fantastical creatures and solve puzzles as you explore the Spiderwick estate.
  • Screen Resolution: Up to 1080p (Full HDTV, Widescreen).


  • Screenshots / Images
    The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge The Spiderwick Chronicles screenshot - click to enlarge

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