This stop animation movie adaptation (adapted from Neil Gaiman‘s book) from game has a storyline that follows Coraline's adjustment to her new family home and the parallel world, called other world, she finds. This challenging, unique adventure has striking visuals paralleling the stop animation techniques used in the film. The striking characters populate the bleak, but engaging environments. Shadows and contrasts with incorporation of sharp color give the settings a nice 3-D feel as you can easily spot places and items.
Coraline, voiced by the movie’s star Dakota Fanning, is initially regulated to the house as her “work-a-holic” parents settle in their new digs. Predictably, Coraline gets familiar with the other characters and make a few friends on the way like Cat and Wybie, voiced by Keith David and Robert Bailey Jr. who also starred in the movie, also lend their voices. It would’ve been great to nab Jennifer Saunders to voice Miss Spink, but Fanning anchors the experience well, giving a nice anchor to connect fans of the book/film.
The platform format is familiar for most. Controls utilize the remote and nunchuk as you progressively wander through settings like the Pink Palace and other unique places. The currency here is buttons (the ability to buy puzzle solutions is nice), so you’re looking everywhere to find them, and the weapon of choice is a slingshot.
One of the more challenging tasks is definitely shooting down ripe apples of the tree outside the house, which is shared with other families/characters. You can only aim using the nunchuck thumbstick instead of just pointing the remote – one of many missed opportunities to fully utilize the unique Wii control capabilities.
The apple shooting will likely be the most frustrating for younger players, still, most challenges are optional, so they can be skipped … unless you need more buttons. Other actions, like balancing yourself across a long pole, also use the thumbstick instead of tipping the remote for balance.
Plenty of mini-games boost the entertainment and replay value of this quality title ($30 suggested retail price). Players can change Coraline’s outfits, but developers don’t really incorporate this element into the game, so the result is a basic aesthetic choice. Costumes change during the cut scenes as well. Unlockables include pictures/artwork from the film and photos for your scrapbook.
Good production values provide appeal, but better mechanics and Wii control adaptation would've enhanced the experience. Younger, unfamiliar platform players will find more challenge than experienced players who can probably conquer this game in single digit hours. Overall, the experience entertains as an emotional, problem solving journey with enough mystery to hold your attention.
Coraline is rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) by the ESRB for mild cartoon violence and mild suggestive themes. This game can also be found on Nintendo DS and PS2.