The Three Musketeers: One for All! Review for Nintendo Wii

The Three Musketeers: One for All! Review for Nintendo Wii

It’s been a while since the world saw a decent 2-D action-platformer, but into this void steps The Three Musketeers: One for All!, a WiiWare entry from indie developer Legendo. Loosely based on the classic tale by Alexandre Dumas, the storyline plays out as musketeer Porthos tries to rescue his two fellow musketeers (and another friend, D’Artagnan) from the evil Count Xavier. In many ways it’s a clever and highly worthy game, and it’s definitely worth a $9 download for hardcore fans of the genre, but unfortunately it has a few too many flaws to earn a ringing endorsement – casual platformer fans can skip this one.

The Three Musketeers: One for All! screenshot

With any action-platformer, the two biggest questions are: “How’s the action?” and “How’s the platforming?” As it so happens, those questions reveal the game’s biggest problem and its greatest asset.

To be frank, the action is pretty much atrocious. For God knows what reason, the developers mapped the only attack, a sword swing, to a flick of the Wii-mote rather than to a button, and you can’t change this. In addition to all the timing problems inherent to this approach, it’s not very responsive. Sometimes you can swing your arm quite dramatically without Porthos doing the same, and this means you lose hearts and lives (the game’s two ways of determining how much life you have left) unnecessarily.

Also, most of the enemies seem to have single-digit IQs; they move and attack in simple patterns, and sometimes they’ll return to a standstill after you’ve smacked them with your sword. Typically, the idea is to hit, run away, turn around, and hit again, provided you have enough room to do so, which you don’t always have. To be fair, the boss fights are a good deal more clever, and as you move through the game, new enemies are introduced and old ones arranged in ways that provide more of a challenge.

The Three Musketeers: One for All! screenshot

The platforming helps redeem the game from its dismal action performance. Jumping always feels precise, which is good, because you’ll have to perfect some very tricky timing to avoid the various pits, protruding spikes, and falling blades. What’s more, while your movements always take place on a 2D plane, the game world is presented in 3D, with a camera that occasionally switches perspectives. Also, from time to time you’ll have to run around corners, or jump while viewing yourself from an odd angle. The game doesn’t exactly reinvent the platforming wheel, but it does put some nice rims on it.

In addition to enemies and platforms, the level design incorporates a lot of puzzles, usually involving such standard fare as finding keys and pushing boxes around. Despite their essential simplicity, these can get complicated in a hurry. In one, you have to run so an archer can’t hit you, climb a ladder, push a box back toward the archer, run away when the archer tries to shoot again, jump over the box, kill the archer, and then proceed to shove the box into a spike-filled ditch so you can (just barely) jump over.

The Three Musketeers: One for All! screenshot

All of this could add up to a very good game. If everything else is up to par, one can live with a few cheap hits due to unresponsive controls, after all. However, when those unresponsive controls are coupled with levels as long as those found here, we suspect a lot of gamers will give up before finishing the whole story, even though the game can easily be completed in less than six hours. For example, take the puzzle we described above. It happens right after a save point, but you have to deal with some rather extensive platforming challenges and a whole lot of enemies before you get to save again. Once we figured this out, we began restarting the game whenever we took damage from the archer; why keep going when we’re already down a heart, especially knowing that soon enough, we’ll be losing hearts we don’t even deserve to? We also had to restart whenever we fell in the ditch with the spikes, because a fall costs you an entire life, and we were down to two. That’s right; when your game is over, you re-start from your save point rather than getting a full set of new lives.

In a well-designed game, this doesn’t happen. Not to mention that there is absolutely nothing more infuriating for a player than working diligently through a long level, and then dying right at the end due to a problem with the controls, yelling, “But I swung the #$%!* remote!” Of course, ideally, the developers would have added an option to attack with a button, but barring that, they should at least have put the save points closer together and given new lives.

The Three Musketeers: One for All! screenshot

In terms of presentation, The Three Musketeers is a mixed bag. The graphics will divide gamers. It’s definitely a unique-looking game with a fun art style, and there’s a good variety of environments, but it looks a little too simple. Often, the parallax scrolling and barebones drawings make the game seem more like a 16-bit platformer than the modern-day work of art it obviously aspires to be.

In between levels, the story plays out in a series of comic-book panels complemented by music and voice-acting. Unfortunately, the panels don’t simply play in a slideshow; you have to push A to bring up each one, which disrupts the music and throws off the flow. What could have been an entertaining break becomes an awkward and disjointed experience. The same could sometimes be said of the game itself. Within each level, you have to deal with too-long load times between some of the screens.

However, the music itself is very good, evoking the time period the game depicts without ever becoming annoying or grating. Also, the sound effects and voice acting are superb; somehow, the developers found someone to play Porthos who could use a 17th century European accent without sounding over-the-top or flat-out ridiculous.

Diehard fans of the action platformer will find a lot to like in The Three Musketeers: One for All! The game features excellent platforming, great level design, and a fresh (if debatable) art style. However, the game’s many problems might make it a bad purchase for those looking for a more polished experience.

The visuals definitely have a unique and interesting style, but they look a little too simple much of the time. 1.6 Control
The only attack is mapped to a flick of the Wii-mote. Enough said. 4.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The voice acting is great, the music captures the time period, and the sound effects do their job 2.8

Play Value
The game can be a lot of fun, but its many flaws detract from its playability. There are multiple endings for those who play through more than once, though.

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

Game Features:

  • Immerse yourself in a swashbuckling platform adventure, duel countless enemies, solve fun puzzles, and avoid fiendish traps.
  • Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls allow you to interact directly with the game. Swing the Wii Remote to launch blistering sword attacks on your foes, run and leap over rooftops, and discover hidden collectables.
  • Explore a multitude of breathtaking levels teeming with challenging bosses and distinctive environments that include lush forests, dark dungeons, towering castles, a haunted Abbey, the historical town of Normandy, and more!

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