Review: The Croods (Wii U)

_gzlZ9elIMz8jQM_JPhpONTNOJDabUCbThe Croods
Publisher: D3 Publisher of America
Developer: Dreamworks Interactive
Genre: Party
Release Date: 03/19/2013

Before you read this article, take a moment to read what Matt said about the 3DS version.

The Croods is a movie from Dreamworks Entertainment; this is a collection of mini-games based loosely on the movie. I’ve put off writing about this title for a long LONG time. Mainly because at first all I wanted to say was: “This game is horrible and you should never force your children or yourself to play and, more to the point, pay for this kind of garbage.” End of review. It’s bad, it’s maddening. But somehow slightly…just slightly better than its 3DS sibling.

Honestly the best part of this game is the loading splash screen that comes up on the Wii U when you put a game in. (If you’re a Wii U owner you understand what I’m referring to here.) ‘Belt’ does his signature line “DA DA DUAHH” this gets the kids excited as it was the most popular part of the movie as well, and a recurring catch phrase. This is the last time while playing this title that I said, “oh, this is nice.”

The graphics on Croods is pretty dang crude for a Wii U Title (this is an HD game?). It looks as if they just ported the Wii version over and added the second screen functionality. That’s fine, we’ve lived through ports before, it’ll be OK. Sound is good, though it’s noticeable that the original cast is not involved (at least the main character, Grug, is obviously NOT voiced by Nick Cage). Why couldn’t they just take sound bites from the movie? I know that you don’t want to spend a lot of money getting an A list celebrity to do the voice for the video game. But I’m sure Mr. Cage would have done it if you asked him nicely and told them that you loved his work in Raising Arizona.

Multiplayer party games will always be held up next to the Mario Party series. It’s just a matter of life for these kinds of games. All the usual elements are here: game board, dice rolling, smack talking characters. Everything was fine for awhile. We had the whole family around playing the different characters from the game. We’re all having a great time until we get to the Fire minigame. This one is a bit like the Tron bikes or the apple eating snake game, where you have fire following your characters creating obstacles you have to avoid. At this point everyone started to get upset. It took me a few moments, but then I realized that the characters aren’t moving in the direction that they’ve been told to.

Now, I understand that sometimes corners have to be cut. Sometimes certain parts of games are glossed over to make the whole of the game playable and finished in time to tie-in with the movie that it’s depicting. This has been going on for years. For those of you who aren’t old enough to remember, Google the ET game for Atari. Heck, think back on your favorite 80s or 90s TV show or movie and you’d be able to find a tie-in title for it. Were these games good? No. Did you get your money back for them? No. Tough luck kid, better luck next time. Oh how many games could we have avoided if we were only blessed with the invention of the internet and video game review sites in 1989 when Who Framed Rodger Rabbit? was released. As a community of video game players, we need to stand up to the video game developers and shout NO MORE! Why should we or our children (who are hopefully just getting started on a lifelong love of pixels) have to endure the pain that we all know comes from movie tie-ins?

In fairness, there have been some very good movie tie-in games. Ghostbusters: The Video Game (the multi-platform title released in 2009) is one of the best movie tie-ins I’ve ever had had pleasure to play. The difference between a title like Ghostbusters and one as dry-heave inducing as Croods comes down to time and money. Simple economics of a market that is vying for your allowance (even us old folks have to budget our gaming habits, right?) knowing that in a few months you won’t give two poops about a crappy title that has characters that you just saw in theaters.

I apologize for getting so drastically off of the subject of this game. I do, truly. Croods was a great movie. A bit dark, but hey, what movie these days doesn’t have some adult themes to it? I think that I should be able to bear playing a video game about the movie that it’s based on for at least as long as the movie was.

Short Attention Span Review
This game is horrible and you should never force your children or yourself to play and, more to the point, pay for this kind of garbage.

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