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Despite first appearances George of the Jungle turns out to be a well adjusted game that delivers an experience fitting of its audience. Although the difficulty level spikes unnecessarily at some points, the game delivers an entertaining platformer for its younger audience.
The humorous start to the game aims squarely at the casual younger gamer. With its roots in the child friendly Jay Ward classic series, there's no reason for it not to. Introducing many of the characters from the TV series it plunges you straight into the action and gets you immersed in the world very quickly.
The game is a pretty standard platform experience that thanks to the Wii adds the odd gesture control into the mix. Movement is handled via the analogue stick, punching with the B button, charging with the Z button and a ;Mario-esque' power stomp is achieved with A and a waggle. This is pretty child friendly. Although it can take a while to figure out which button does what, things soon fall into place.
This is a game that hits all the right notes in terms of its delivery. The visuals evoke that classic feel of the cartoon series and fit perfectly with the gameplay. Even the sound is pretty good, bringing the right combination of tongue-in-cheek voice work and spot effects.
It wasn't until my kids arrived home from school that I realised what was missing.
But for my first hours of play nothing really clicked for me. The separate elements of the game simply didn't come together into a coherent whole. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the game, but more that the experience just didn't matter. I know this is a game based around a children's cartoon series, but even so, there seemed to be something lacking to the whole experience.
It wasn't until my kids arrived home from school that I realised what was missing. They soon noticed me playing the Wii and trundled in to investigate. Before long they had hold of the controllers and were putting George through his paces. With them at the helm, shrieking and laughing at the on screen buffoonery the whole experience made sense – and become entirely more enjoyable.
What had seemed slightly on the easy side when I was playing it earlier, turned out to be perfectly pitched for a younger audience. My kids could pretty much progress through the four different environments, each one encompassing of a number of segmented levels. Through these arenas are placed the six boss encounters. Although younger players would easily be able to progress to each boss, once encountered they unfortunately represent a big difficulty spike. For my kids this meant yelling for Dad to come back and help.
Overall this is a game that appears to be a by the numbers rendition of a popular franchise. There is nothing here that particularly stands out - most aspects of the game struggle to be above average. But these criticisms miss the point; add in some younger players and you discover it to be a well pitched experience that understands its audience well.
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