Chicken Little

Chicken Little

Developer: Disney Interactive Studios
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios

ESRB: E10+

Genre: Children
Setting: cartoon

Having two children, a six year old boy, and an eight year old girl, I was delighted to take a look at a family friendly game on the Game Cube. Chicken Little, the movie, was fun and light and worth the matinŠ¹e prices at the local theatre. However, after spending weeks with Chicken Little, the game, I find myself definitely not feeling that it was worth any amount of money for the frustration that it brings.

Chicken Little has you play through a series of mini-games as the title character or one of his friends. Each mini-game starts with a video clip from the movie, then has you control your character until you have overcome the challenge of that particular mini-game. Then you are given the option of saving and beginning the next mini-game. The mini-games are extremely varied, including: jumping puzzles, a baseball game, a dodge-ball game, searching for coins, car driving, alien robot shooting in 3d, alien robot shooting as a side-scroller, jumping puzzles while sliding, jumping and shooting puzzles while sliding, whacking alien robots while in a maze and other combinations of jumping, smashing, running, sliding, shooting and searching.

The positives:
Chicken Little does very well with the characters and settings, giving you very much the feel that you have entered the movie world. The audio is well done, and adds to the enjoyment. The animations are cute, and the game does a few things not found in the movie. Some of the series of mini-games found within will please anybody who plays.

The negatives:
You are forced to watch through video clips before each mini-game that comprises Chicken Little. The video clips are nice, they are mostly directly from the movie, but you cannot skip them, and every time you come back to the start of a mini-game, you see them again, and again, and again. It might be possible to skip them, but I tried every combination of button mashing I could, as well as even breaking down and reading the documentation. We wanted to play a game, not watch the movie.

Camera control in Chicken Little must have been a huge challenge, since every mini-game requires a slightly different view. The automatic camera was often forced into difficult to see positions due to collision with the surrounding world, and many of the mini-games were built as narrow, track-like environments that inevitably lead to such collisions. You can attempt to manually control the camera while playing, but that is often as frustrating as playing the game due to the camera attempting to automatically return to a centered position.

Save points... this is bad. It has been bad in every game that used them, and I had thought that the ability to save wherever you wanted was an accepted improvement over a decade ago. What makes this exceptionally bad in this case is that Chicken Little is based on a linear series of mini-games. You might enjoy any one of these mini-games, but if you happen to not be adept at one of them, then you are not going to be able to get past that mini-game until you have played through it many, many times. My children and I found that when we hit one that one of us couldn't successfully beat, it was time to pass the controller to the next player, until they got too frustrated, and then pass it to the third player. If the third player couldn't succeed, then we turned it off and went out to ride bikes. We did manage eventually to get past each mini-game and were 'rewarded' with another clip from the movie. It is important to note that we set up the game to play on the easiest possible mode.

Unless you are a huge fan of the movie who wants anything and everything associated with the movie, don't buy this game. To the developers: you have some great little games in here and a non-linear approach would have made me like the game a whole lot more. Some of the mini-games that I liked and could play, my son didn't and couldn't. The ones that he liked and could beat, my daughter couldn't. I realize that a movie is a linear experience, but games don't have to, and usually shouldn't be.

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About the Author, David (A.K.A David)

I have 2 children am married, live in Arizona and work too much. I've played games since I was born and have played electronic games since they've existed and am very hopeful for their future.