The Adventures Of TinTin: The Game Hands-On Preview [Sony Holiday 2011]

Throughout the years, video games and movies have become a great advertising tandem. When a big budget blockbuster film is released, you can surely expect to see an interactive adventure for your favourite device. To many, this has become a bane of the industry, though I personally like to give these games the benefit of the doubt. Not every single one is rushed or poorly made, although it’s not hard to discover that many have been lacking due to short development times and unimpressive quality. It’s too bad because some of the theatrically-released stories would have done quite well in digitized and interactive form, given the amount of polish that a modern day triple A title usually receives.

Developed by Ubisoft, The Adventures of TinTin: The Game is hoping to change gamers’ preconceptions the old fashioned way – by impressing them with a quality experience. Does it fully succeed? We North Americans will have to wait a bit to find out. However, I had the chance to briefly go hands on with the PS3 version of the game at Sony’s Holiday 2011 Preview Event in Toronto, just last month. Read on for my thoughts on what is set to be one of the holiday season’s final releases – on this side of the pond, at least.

Stylishly presented on the big screen through the use of high-tech visual filters and designs, The Adventures of TinTin: The Game mixes classic area traversal with arcade action in its controlled debut. In what seems to be the main mode, players must use their smarts to move throughout each stage, using a two-dimensional camera. Noticeably inspired by the original Prince of Persia game from all of those years ago, it employs pretty much the same style with high-definition gloss added in. Climbing platforms, fighting enemies, finding secrets and completing puzzles is the name of the game.

Two friends can jump into the adventure together, in an attempt to complete special cooperative missions. It’s in these sections where teamwork is a necessity, meaning that a well-orchestrated solution is in the cards. Working together, players have to combine their efforts to solve two-player puzzles. The most memorable one from my experience would have to be a switch puzzle that needed to be completed in order to get an elevator to the top of a wall, carrying both of the playable heroes. It was interesting, relatively easy and accessible, though I assume what was shown was early on. Hopefully the puzzles get quite a bit more challenging as things progress, even though this is a game which kids are able to pick-up and play.

Combined, the two types of platform action sections were quite neat. It’s something different from what we normally see on the shelves at local retailers, providing a change of pace this holiday season. Although what I saw was just a snippet of the full game, creativity was noticed and so was an attention to polished detail. These sections looked quite good, employing a resemblance to their celluloid inspiration. The action is colourful, containing a classic look that does its time period justice.

The third part of the demo was a complete u-turn from the previously demonstrated stages. In an attempt to add variety and further replicate its source material, the internal development team at Ubisoft added in some arcade flight stages. One was on display, providing a fast-paced thrill-ride escape through an underground cavern of some sort. Enemies would enter my flight space, looking for turret lead in their cockpits, but the main objective was to fly through tight areas and get the heck out of dodge. It was an entertaining side stage; a type I hope to see prominently displayed in the core game. We do know that dogfights play a role, which sounds interesting. Of course, the fact that TinTin‘s plane controlled well is the biggest plus.

Based on my time with The Adventures of TinTin: The Game, I must admit that it’s placed itself on my radar. What was on display was neat and entertaining, showing a level of polish that a lot of licensed titles unfortunately do not possess. It has notable variety and interesting mechanics which we don’t normally see these days. Providing something different is a big plus in itself, as many gamers like to complain about a lack of variety these days. Taking others’ expressions and remarks into account, it can truthfully be stated that I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed test driving this one.

The Adventures of TinTin: The Game is available now in Europe, but will not be released in North America until December 6.