A word of warning before you play Wreck-It Ralph for the Nintendo Wii: If you haven’t seen the movie yet, stay away from this game, because the film’s ending will be blown for you in the opening segment. However, if you have seen the Disney movie, stay even further away from this videogame version of Wreck-It Ralph, because it’ll taint your pleasant opinion of the characters forever. It’s obvious that this was intended to be little more than a quick cash-in, since the entire game will take you under two hours to finish – and that may be the only good thing going for it.
For the most part, Wreck-it Ralph can be defined as a platformer, with a little bit of action mixed in for seemingly no reason. Had we been given a simple clone of some classic game in the genre, that would have been a much better idea. Instead what we actually get to play is strange and lacks any discernable focus whatsoever.
All the classic platforming elements are here: dodging obstacles, avoiding pitfalls, and jumping between moving objects. The difference is that you’ll constantly have puzzles thrown at you, many of which will require you to switch between characters in order to complete some unnecessary task. Need some blocks smashed? Wreck-It Ralph can clear them away with a few button presses. Need some control mechanism un-smashed? Fix-it Felix is the man for the job.
On its face this isn’t a terrible concept; the whole switching-characters idea has worked in many games before (e.g. Lost Vikings). However, in Wreck-It Ralph it serves only to slow down the game and create situations where you’ll get injured through no fault of your own. One part had me moving on a conveyor belt, avoiding platforms as they fall from the sky – it looked pretty straightforward. Well, apparently Ralph was a little too big to make it through, and I took a ton of damage in between every block…now, how was I supposed to know that going in?
The single most annoying thing about the game are the random objects thrown throughout the levels that cause you to take hits, regardless of how well you attempt to avoid them, or how benign they may seem. At every single stage I found myself leaping onto something I mistakenly thought was safe, or I’d move too close to a rotating platform and get smacked by some unseen force that defies the laws of physics.
Wreck-It Ralph is definitely too hard for most young kids, which is strange considering this is a game based on a Disney movie. Yet, while adult gamers will find themselves taking a lot of unnecessary damage, it’s difficult to actually run out of lives in this game. In fact, during my first play-through, I didn’t get a dreaded “game over” screen one single time. There are too many extra lives everywhere for you to be concerned with the difficulty.
It is almost as if Disney Interactive Studios wanted to offset the cheap nature of the stages by giving the player a ton of extra lives. None of this makes sense; the game punishes you constantly, but it’s all negated by the frequent gaining of bonus lives. Words cannot express how incredibly un-fun this makes the game to actually play.
Overall the level designs are chaotic, random, and aimless. They don’t really fit in with the vibe of the movie at all, and they lack any sense of cohesion that would give this adaptation its own unique feel. It is as if the developers reached into a bargain bin of discarded stages from various games, pulled a few out, then threw them all together, hoping for a positive result.
In between each stage you’re treated to some lame “cinematic” that features speech balloons, still images, and terrible dialogue. Do yourself a favor and skip them; there’s really no story here to speak of, and these two idiots have nothing interesting to say.
I guess the speech bubbles are there to continue the classic game vibe Wreck-it Ralph is going for in its overall presentation. The menus look like something you’d see in Donkey Kong or another classic arcade title, even adding in the appropriate sound effects. How does this fit in with the actual gameplay? Hey, your guess is as good as mine.
If you assumed the majority of the graphics and sound (which are mediocre) match up with the presentation, you’d be wrong. Nothing about the graphics is particularly terrible for a Wii title, but everything is so very bland and uninteresting. The same story applies for the sound design – nothing interesting to talk about here, so let’s just move on.
Yes, I know Wreck-It Ralph is a kid’s game. However, unless your kids love to be punished for a very short time, there’s nothing here for them to enjoy. There’s no creative use of the Wii Motion, no clever use of various videogame licenses, and none of the movie’s charm. Wreck-It Ralph is one of the most dismal games to ever disgrace the Nintendo Wii, and it’s destined only to be found at the bottom of a bargain bin.
Wreck-It Ralph is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB for Mild Cartoon Violence.