Game: Winnie The Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly Adventure
System: Sony Playstation 2 (Also On: GC)
Developer: Pheonix Game Studios
(The scene opens as Alex Williams walks into Inside Pulse headquarters for his weekly meeting with Bebito Jackson on site progress)
BJ: AW, how’s it goin’?
AW: Pretty good there, Bebs. I got the Tribunals back up and running, and…
BJ: (Cuts him off) Alex, we need to talk.
AW: Huh? Why?
BJ: I’ve been receiving some “complaints” lately in regards to your reviews.
AW: (Confused) What do you mean? I haven’t received any negative reader feedback in months!
BJ: Oh, no no no! The readers aren’t complaining! You’re doing fine with them!
AW: Okaaaaaaaay…then who’s complaining?
BJ: The other staff members.
AW: The staff? What?! Why?!?
BJ: Well, it seems you’ve been reviewing a lot of the “bigger” titles as of late. You’ve already reviewed the most DS games here, as well as snatching up most of Nintendo’s stuff for your own.
AW: Well, there’s that…
BJ: And you’ve almost completely dominated the Mario/Wario markets! I see your name tacked on to nearly ALL the Mario/ Wario reviews here!
AW: Okay, you have a point…
BJ: So in order to appease the staff, you’re going to need to review a few of the low key titles…starting with this…
(Bebito pulls out a copy of Winnie The Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly Adventure on the PS2.)
AW: Hey! That’s a baby’s game! I’m not reviewing that!
BJ: You are, or I’m going to give the Friday column spot to Polecat.
BJ: Wouldn’t it be just AWESOME to see Encore Extra Stage full of furries and MUFFs?
AW: GOD no!
BJ: Then I suggest you get to work!
AW: You’re sick. Sick in the head.
(Alex takes the game and leaves, a bit irate over the whole thing.)
Hooray! I get to review Winnie The Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly Adventure! I feel so…um…LUCKY! Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for…I think…
In order to forget about being hungry, Winnie The Pooh, under the advice of Christopher Robin, decides to remember back to happier times. And that means remembering all of his favorite birthday parties for his friends.
Yep…remembering about birthday parties…that’s about it for the back-story!
There are five levels total, and each one has a separate story to go along with it. You’ll be taken back to the events leading up to the parties of Piglett, Roo, Tigger, Eeyore, and even Pooh himself.
Oh, and for the record, you never once see a birthday party. Ever. You do five preparation levels just to be gypped on each one.
The last game I played that contained Winnie The Pooh in it was Kingdom Hearts, and as such, I got used to the entire cast looking spectacular in the SqEnix style. However, this time Ubisoft got to render Pooh and his friends, so the results are a bit less spectacular. Characters look more “3D-ish” than “cartoonish”, if you understand the comparison, but still look serviceable for this game. There aren’t too many jagged edges, and everyone looks pretty clean.
The 100-Acre Wood has also been reproduced rather well, giving it the scenic peacefulness you’d expect from such a place. The majority of it consists of forests, as the 100-Acre Wood is famed for, but that’s usually all that’s there. Other than two caves and an snowy mountain peak, all you’ll see are forests and farmland. Still, for the purposes of the game, its handled quite well.
Hoo boy, something happened here that I don’t like.
It’s not necessarily the music’s fault, although there is very little music to speak of. In fact, I think I counted three songs, one of which an incredibly soft instrumental of Disney’s theme song for Pooh. The original vocal version would have been a nice touch, but sadly, its nowhere to be found.
It’s not the character voices either, although some of them could have been better. Pooh, Piglett, Tigger, and Eeyore are all spot on, but the voices for Kanga, Roo, and Owl sound a bit…off. And Rabbit’s voice is completely atrocious. Plus that whistling gopher needs to be shot.
The problem lies in the VOLUME. Believe it or not, the game’s volume presents ones of the biggest problems. On the default setting, the game sounds incredibly soft. In fact, when the game runs the few computer-animated cut scenes it has, the volume goes down even more. Several times, it went down SO low that I could even hear it without turning the volume all the way up. Then I got an annoying buzzing sound from my TV. I’ve never EVER had a problem like this before I played this game, and none of my other PS2 games shared this problem. This really should have been fixed in the beta stages.
As expected, the gameplay is incredibly simplistic. Perfect for the little ones, boring as hell for our generation.
The controls are simple enough. X is your “interact” button, allowing you to talk to characters and touch objects. Pressing it when no one is around begets animations of Pooh either weakly punching, weakly kicking, or doing a creepy pelvic thrust. (Nightmares are soon to follow witnessing THAT for a few hundred times.) O lets you pick up items and use them when the time is right. Holding Square allows Pooh to run faster, which is great for traversing previously seen areas. Triangle will bring up the map, showing where all the characters are and what you still need to collect. The L and R buttons serve no purpose, as all they do is make Pooh hum to himself. (Oy vey…)
As mentioned above, there are five main levels Pooh needs to go through, each one taking place in good ol’ 100-Acre Wood. The levels vary in length by the amount of areas each one has. Each stage is given a map, and every section of the map is split into a separate area. The first stage will have four areas, while later levels will have upwards of eight or nine. The main crux of the gameplay revolves around traveling to these areas, interacting with the other characters, and collecting items to help you get to new areas and complete tasks.
Now the tasks wouldn’t be so bad if the loading time in between areas weren’t so abysmal. You’ll be happily skipping over to the next area when all of the sudden, you get the Loading screen with Pooh running back and forth in a laggy manner. This will continue for a good 15-20 seconds before you finally get to enter the next area. Then it gets worse, as you’ll often find yourself backtracking through the same areas multiple times in order to complete new tasks and such, thereby subjecting you to TONS of these screens in the process.
Does it get worse than this you ask? Well put those worries to rest, because it DOES! For seemingly no reason at all, you’re going to run into times where “Heffalumps” and “Woozles” are patrolling the areas. (Luckily, there’s no relation to the abortion that is the most recent Pooh movie being shown in theaters.) When you get to these areas, Pooh will automatically start running around in the slowest chase scenes EVER to grace a game. They’ll only stop when you get to a balloon on the other side of the area and pop it, causing all the great beast that were chasing you to spontaneously combust. (No, they don’t run away like the game says the do. They combust. Pure and simple.) This arm of the gameplay is really unnecessary, and only serves to lengthen what would be an incredibly short experience. It gets VERY annoying later, when it seems that EVERY SINGLE SCREEN is filled to the brim with these guys.
Luckily when you get to a blank screen, there are some hidden items worth seeking. Each area has fifteen honey pots hidden away, and you’ll need them to proceed in certain spots. If you touch a spot on the map that glows orange, five pots will appear, and you’ll have to collect them before they disappear. This is another aspect that gets annoying fast, as sometimes the pots will FLY across the stage, making it impossible sometimes to collect them all in time. You’ll most likely have to go back to the same spot two or three times to collect them all, and it’s a bitch to have to do so over and over. Parts of the map that glow blue contain musical notes, and they are collected in the same manner. Collecting three from each stage will give you new music to play in the sound test menu.
Now Pooh isn’t the only character you can control. You can also control Eeyore, Tigger, and Piglett through certain areas of the game. The catch is that when you play as them, they are NOTHING like their personalities. Eeyore, the lazy, depressed donkey, will run around with Pooh on his back collecting butterflies. Tigger, the most outgoing, energetic member of the team, will sneak around quietly past the Heffalumps, Metal Gear Solid style. Piglett, the small, cowardly pig, will participate in scaring contests that will scare away the large predators around him. I swear, the only people even REMOTELY acting like themselves in this game are Kanga, Roo, and Pooh himself.
There are other modes as well. If your think the main mode I just described is too hard for you (and if it is, I pity you deeply), there’s a “Junior Mode” that’s even simpler. Created for the super-young crowd, like 3-4 years of age, Junior Mode is a free-roaming area where Pooh and his friends can interact with their surroundings. Despite it being so friggin’ boring, there seemed to be a certain “charm” to it that would be perfect for the crowd it was designed for. There are also mini-games to play, but I highly doubt that many would take advantage of them.
Once you go through a level and collect all there is to collect, you are officially done with that level. You can’t go through that particular story again unless you start another save file and start all the way at the beginning again. This is really disappointing if you’re playing with your children, they want to do Eeyore’s level again, and you have to explain to them that you have to go through Piglett’s, Roo’s, and Tigger’s levels first.
And if you DON’T have children? Well, the next thing you’ll do with the game is return it for a refund, or return it to the place you rented it from. Nothing left outside of that.
Replay Value: 2/10
The game was made for children in mind, which kills any sort of difficulty curve. The only thing that even resembles a difficulty curve in this game is the fact that you’ll encounter Heffalumps more often on the later levels. Other than that, the game literally holds your hand as you go from place to place, and it never lets go. You can find out from at least seven different methods at a time on what your next task is, or where to go next. Not challenging in the least.
If you’re looking for an original experience here, you’ll…um…sorta find it. The game IS original in regards to having five new “adventures” for Pooh and his friends to take part in. The game is NOT original in regards to some of the gameplay mechanics. I mean, Tigger’s gameplay is ripped off from MGS and other stealth-action games! COME ON!
If the rest of this piece is of any indication, I basically played this game only to get to the end and to write this review for you. However, unlike other games that fell into this category, I didn’t hate the game at all. In fact, I did want to see how the stories turned out in the end. Call it the innocent child in me, but I just can’t be mad at Winnie The Pooh.
Now Scooby Doo, on the other hand…
I think its safe to say that hardly any of us would willingly purchase this game as opposed to the other big name games on the market right now. I mean, why go through the slightly irritating adventures of a “willy nilly silly old bear”, when you could be stealth sniping drug dealers?
Then again, some of us are parents of young children, and some of us have younger siblings or other family members that will gravitate towards the honey-loving Pooh and his loveable cast of characters. So since they mostly likely don’t have the money to by this themselves, we’d purchase this for them and allow them access into this imaginative world.
Appeal Factor: 4/10
Believe it or not, I had the opportunity to play this game with someone younger than me. My parent’s friend brought his seven-year-old daughter with him on a recent visit, allowing me to test my hypothesis that this game would indeed appeal to little kids. So I fired the game up, and we took turns wandering the level as Pooh. She didn’t exactly pick up the controls right away, but she was having fun. She wasn’t looking at mediocre game with annoying gameplay mechanics. She was simply walking Pooh through the 100-Acre Wood. She loved it. (To my surprise, she loved the loading screens the most. She fell to the floor laughing every time.)
Kudos to Ubisoft and Disney Interactive for getting the target audience right, at the very least.
Replay Value: 2/10
Appeal Factor: 4/10
TOTAL SCORE: 37/100 (3.5 BAD)