Release Date: 05/26/2009
I thought I was finished serving my penance to Alex Lucard. I have played some truly painful Wii games over the years. I mean, in all seriousness, Ben 10: Alien Force? How about the awesomeness that was Line Rider 2: Unbound? Do I even have to mention the Hell that Howie Mandel put me through? Is it possible to have fun with a Wii game? My ability to believe is weakened with each and every manila envelope I receive with the name “Alex Lucard” on it. I mean, yeah, it is totally cool to get a game in the mail, but does each one have to be like making myself look like Pinhead with a hammer and nails? Last Saturday, I opened my mail box to see what the next step on my road to Hell was.
Oh, you magnificent bastard, Lucard. You magnificent bastard.
As a rule, my wife refuses to go to comedy movies at the theater. She only wants to see a movie that our home entertainment center cannot provide the whole experience of. That means Star Trek up, the Hangover down. I, on the other hand, do not like watching animated movies and horror flicks at the movie house. Horror movies loose the visceral fear that comes from being alone in the dark and watching terrifying acts. Plus, at 30, it is embarrassing to squeal like a little girl at a Jonas Brothers concert in front of the hordes of unwashed youth. At an animated film, I am surrounded by small children, their parents, and their older siblings. Truth is, the children themselves are the least of my concerns. No, it is the parents talking the children, who are fully capable of understanding the movie, through the film. The older, and usually bored, siblings, will no doubt be typing away frantically on cell phones, communicating the sort of antisocial self-absorption their parents only thought they perfected. That might just be my curmudgeonly nature at work. That pretty much means that I am going into the game adaption of Up with only the trailer to guide me.
Excited that I was to play this video game adaption of a film I am unaware of on the least powerful system of this generation, no doubt loaded with reasons for me to flail my arms like a deck worker on an aircraft carrier, I threw Up onto my basement couch. Then I went to work. After work, I went to bed and slept. Upon my waking, I went to work again. The weekend beckoned me. So, Monday morning, I got up, walked past Up to my PC, and checked my email. Then I left for the day, ate some tasty Chick-Fil-A, came home, mowed the lawn, drank a beer, watched TV, and went to bed. That is three days down. Tuesday, I went to Kauffman Stadium to watch the Kansas City Royals. At least, I am told that is what I did, all I remember is the parking lot and the hot tub, with some hours missing in between. This is the only evidence I have of me at the game. I’m the honky on the right.
Obviously, I could not operate the high-technology of the Nintendo Wii whilst intoxicated, or abducted by the Illuminati. Whatever happened, I was unavailable to play the scintillating game laying upon my couch. Then, I had no choice but to play Up.
Now, I am unfamiliar with the movie, but if it starts with a dog in a fighter plane fighting off other dogs in fighter planes, with no plot in sight, then I have little chance of enjoying said film without some sort of chemical assistance. Either way, Up starts with a dog piloted dog fight so badly executed, so annoying, so mind numbing that it made what should have been an enjoyable pun into a punishment. I was tempted, a few tries into the sucktastic opening to turn off the system and give Up a zero. It was so bad that I would have traded it in for a couple of dollars at my local game store, just to have it out of my house.
Think about this for a second: They took a dog, piloting an airplane, fighting other dogs in airplanes, and made a terrible game. That is like taking Michael Jordan and making a platformer instead of a game vaguely basketball related. Wow. This bit of ineptitude makes me more angry as I think about it. This is a game for children, and I have a hard time imagining that most children who are given this game will bother finishing this opening sequence to get to the game underneath. That is too bad.
If you make it beyond the terrible, awful, blood pressure increasing opening stage, there is a fun little two player platformer underneath it all. Like Lost Vikings, Up has two characters tagging in and out of control, each with a set of powers to traverse the landscape. The old guy can jump higher and help the fat kid up with his cane. The kid can sidle across ledges and drop a rope and jump atop Kevin the bird. The intrepid pair journey through the jungle and collect coins and bugs, to increase the replayability. Theoretically.
Problem is, the platforming is soggy, control wise. The unresponsive controls make the game seem like even more of a sludge fest than the muddy, blocky graphics do. The problem with making a game based on a Pixar movie in this era is that some games are coming close to the standard of Pixar movies without the license. The game models are weak, and nowhere near the quality of the movie, which makes it difficult to enjoy the game. Watch the trailer and look at a screenshot from the game. The difference is startling.
Appeal Factor: Mediocre
Final Score: Poor!
Short Attention Span Summary
Up is a disappointing game, a rare thing for a licensed game. What could have been a fun little two player platformer is, instead, a mess of bad controls and ugly graphics. Unless you have to wave your arms around and look at squarish Pixar characters, there are better games for the Wii.