Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Review for Nintendo Wii

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Review for Nintendo Wii

As the summer comes to a close, the weather is changing from bad to worse. Columbia Pictures has it raining produce, and Ubisoft now brings us their latest game in support of the movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Does this Wii adventure build the perfect storm for fans of the 3D, animated flick, or is this sauce in need of a bit more spice?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot

Considering the premise, folks probably shouldn’t go into this game expecting too much in terms of story. The dialogue is sparse and generic, but it’s also a comfortable fit for the game’s mission-based structure.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is broken up into 20 separate levels, each lasting roughly 15-20 minutes, give or take. The brief nature of missions makes it an easy game to pick up and play, and the gameplay is straightforward and well-crafted.

You play as a scientist named Flint, the creator of the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator – FLDSMDFR for short. The FLDSMDFR is actually the source of all your troubles throughout the game, and each mission has you chopping, melting, punching, and generally combating food that’s raining from the skies. The game has a sort of Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) vibe to it, and the level design, though completely linear in nature, is also reminiscent of that quirky LucasArts classic.

The controls are very straightforward, making use of both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The analog stick moves your character, A to jump, and B to use whatever utensil you’ve got handy. You can switch out utensils later on in the game using the Z-trigger, but each level uses a predetermined set of tools.

Handling Flint feels tight and comfortable, and movement and collision detection are pretty spot on. Throughout a given level, you’ll be required to melt giant scoops of ice cream, chop broccoli or slice over-sized gummy bears who will attempt to lop off chunks of your health by dashing into you.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot

Flint automatically locks onto nearby enemies and objects, but only certain utensils work on specific types of food. For instance, if an ice-cream sandwich is blocking your path, you’ll first have to punch one cookie end with the “Bigacious Pow,” then melt the ice-cream center with the “Hot Enougher,” and finish the other side off with one last punch. Since broccoli is a healthy food, you can slice it with the “Chopper-er” for a health pick-up.

The game’s full of such mechanics, and they’re varied up nicely. If there’s a puddle of hot sauce barring the way forward, just toss a slab of butter in there with the “Forkamajigger,” and the burning pool will quickly wash away. Occasionally you’ll come upon a dead end, but by collecting and then spraying honey on certain walls, you’ll be able to climb their sticky surfaces in order to progress through the level.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot

Though there are only a handful of gadgets at your disposal, most levels are fairly interesting from start to finish. That being said, the level objectives are mostly the same for each mission: “clear a path for said citizens,” or “save a buddy,” etc. You also won’t be pushed very hard in terms of difficulty, and the game rarely calls for you to think too far outside the box.

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.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot

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.

The game gets a tad too dark at times, and the fidelity isn’t great overall. The art style, however, is fun, and the framerate is solid throughout. 4.2 Control
No motion control or pointer functionality, but the straightforward design works really well here. The game has a fun collection of mechanics, though the gameplay isn’t very deep. 3.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Solid themes and orchestrations; fun sound effects that make the collection element an addictive affair. 2.7

Play Value
What’s on offer here is pretty fun, regardless of what age you are. The game makes smart use of its few mechanics, and the missions are a nice, quick burst of entertainment. There’s very little under the hood, though, and not much incentive to retread levels.

3.4 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Run, Jump, Climb, Dodge, and Puzzle your Way through Level after Level of Food Mayhem – Explore 20 levels and environments from the movie and beyond, from the Jelly Castle to Ice Cream Falls!
  • Use Flint’s Crazy Gadgets and Vehicles – Melt, punch, slice and dice, carry, pump and spray giant pieces of food, and battle highly mutated food enemies using Flint’s wacky inventions! Hurl hamburgers, sling spaghetti, and join the biggest food fight ever!
  • Grab a Friend and Join-in with Steve the Monkey for Fun Co-op Gameplay – Have fun with friends in two-player co-op mode staring Steve, Flint’s sidekick monkey!

  • To top