Coinciding with the theatrical release of the third animated Toy Story film, Disney Interactive has launched a Toy Story 3: The Videogame to complete the media circle... and we all know how that can go. However, before you prematurely judge Toy Story 3 based on its tied in roots, you might be pleasantly surprised to hear that Toy Story 3: The Videogame is a lot better than expected.
Toy Story's personal toy-smith is Disney subsidiary 'Avalanche Software,' who is no stranger to kid based, film-to-game translations. This is immediately noticeable when you boot up their latest adaptation in Toy Story 3. Instead of a simple retelling, Toy Story 3 digs deep into the creative juices behind the “Toy Story” concept and comes up with a game that gives players what the wanted, a Disney/Pixar toy box of their own. In a remarkable use of the licence, while staying kid-friendly, Avalanche does their best to offer up an addictive experience for all ages.
Now This is a Toy Box!
In this central HUB of sorts you will take on the role as Sheriff, with the responsibility to build up your toy-made town while tending to your townsfolks needs. In the ‘box’, you will be overwhelmed with endless activities to keep you busy. This includes helping the main cast members accomplish specific tasks, like finding missing people, herding plastic candy-dispensing cows, and more. You also have to deal with some pesky townsfolk who are much more needy, in a good way. These little block characters put forth their charming personalities to get you to do all sorts of tasks, even change their clothes. When you consider this is a kids-game, you will be pleasantly surprised at how “smart” Toy Story 3 feels.
Avalanche did a great job making the game flow at a nice pace, with several crafty mini-missions to take part in. It is not an innovative masterpiece, but it is cleverly adapted in its own way. The game is very accessible to all ages even when building shops and customizing the world. This is key to keeping younger games interested, and Toy Story 3 never becomes to self involved or obsessed with tutorials. The game has an excellent progression curve that makes you learn as you go, invaluable for a younger audience. Possibly even more important is the fact that you can join the action and have fun together. Having co-support is even more impressive and a great way to bond with the youngins.
...Wait There is More!
Want more? Sure, we got more. Some of the highlighted features that I haven’t touched on included in the ‘Toy Box’ is the ability to shrink and grow the objects in the game. Compete in races, parachute green army-men, snap candid photos, collect bubble capsule toys, and that’s only the half the fun... phew. This game is absolutely packed with extra things to do, which will keep it spinning in your drive longer then expected.
Even Mario Hasn't Seen This Much Coin
Another aspect I enjoyed about the ‘Toy Box’ section is how freely money is used. Unlocking new items have to be purchased, but like the game explains, you don’t have to be frugal with your cash because their is plenty to go around. This eliminates any frustration younger gamers might have by not being able to unlock a certain item. Equally bountiful are the trophies and achievement points. This might not be a big concern with the littler gamers, but mom or pop, yea, we like these things. I can see Toy Story 3 attracting point hounds looking to boost their score. Hey, they have to come from somewhere.
Marston Didn't Have This Much Fun
Along with the joys of constructing your own living toy box, you will play several segments cut from the film. For the most part, the action is oriented for a younger playing base, but as a mature gamer who has spent the last few weeks blasting away as ‘John Marston’ in ‘Red Dead Redemption,’ Toy Story 3 wrangled up its own version of western-themed fun. Each level cleverly put together with its own theme that offers enough variation between levels to keep the player interested. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be the Buzz Lightyear vs. Emperor Zurg segment.
You've Got a Friend in Me
Lastly, the production values in Toy Story 3 are above expectations. This game looks great and has a superb flair for the "over-the-top." From the introductary level that is crumbling around you to the excellent lighting showcased in the buzz level, Toy Story 3 is a looker. This continues with the audio portion, which is equally impressive. The sound effects are superb with an all-star voice cast lending a hand in the production. I'm talking about Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Michael Keaton and more. The voice-work, soundtrack (which also supports 7.1 surround sound) is excellent. I could go on and on, so in the perspective of a "kids" game, Avalanche knocked this one out of the park.
As cliché as it sounds, 'Avalanche Games' has gone above-and-beyond what is expected out a “kids game.” Toy Story 3 is near perfect, delivering an opened ended, action packed game that can be enjoyed for hours on end. It doesn’t hurt that Toy Story 3 also looks spectacular and plays just as good. I could easy ramble on for hours about how great this game is, so instead of being any more redundant, the verdict is simple. Have kids? Then pick up this game. Simply outstanding.
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 06.25.10