Support Andy, click to buy via us...
Visiting reviewer Daran continues his mission to train his four year old into a fully fledged gaming partner. Radio Helicopter on Wii proves to be.
Although a bit wary of Radio Helicopter, my previous experiences of radio helicopter control had involved a five second flight, followed by a hasty fall to the ground, it was with mild excitement and expectation that my daughter (4) and I inserted the disc into the wii. The intro sequence was pleasant, although containing music on a par with Super Mario 3 which was released in 1988. A sign of things to come?
The gameplay consists of several missions across four locations: a childs bedroom, a playground, a hospital and a hotel resort. This can be tackled alone or with a friend. At the time of writing I have completed approx 80 percent of these stages. The location map gives the impression that further stages could potentially be unlocked, however it is not clear if this is possible. The instructions and in-game help are limited in all respects and only mention the initial 4 stages also, so for now, the possibility of further stages continues to remain a secret. One of the stages we began had the mission instructions written in German. This lead me to suspect that either the game makers effort tapered off towards the end, or that the product was rushed onto the market.
Each mission consists of traversing the location you are in and performing certain tasks, such as flying through rings to accumulate gold, collecting fruit for cocktails or assisting the doctor in locating their missing medical supplies.
After two minutes gameplay I heard the fatal words 'Can we play Mario Kart now Daddy'.
After a few minutes play it became clear that my four year old (and I suspect most other children of a similar age) would not be able to control the helicopter or partake in the gameplay, other than assisting here and there by pressing the button for suction cup or air cannon duties. After two minutes gameplay I heard the fatal words 'Can we play Mario Kart now Daddy'. The main reason for this is that the missions take place in fairly small spaces whereby a deft touch is needed on the controls, the slightest knock against an item (door, cupboard etc) and you will lose one of only three lives. As you can imagine this is very frustrating for a youngster. Another thing my daughter picked up on was the lack of any characters, be it human or animal.
During missions you need to keep a close eye on the battery life, which is also very limited, with recharges needed at relevant heliport pads. Some levels involve locating hidden items, often using the air cannon and suction cup. The problem here is that some of these items are almost impossible to locate and you find yourself aimlessly flying around and constantly rushing back to recharge your battery. In general, the flight speed is also too slow, and a lack of online hints or tips adds to the frustration.
A clear opportunity has been missed by not including a 'free practise' area. The inclusion of such an area would mean a child could at least experience the feel of flying the helicopter without worrying about the battery life or collisions. Doing this together in 2-player made would have been lovely. It is still not clear after 20 hours or so play which age group this game is geared towards in my opinion.
A few words must be written on the game controls - on the plus side though I have to say that the controls themselves are very realistic and pleasant to handle. The process of manouvering your chosen helicopter around is most enjoyable. Until you switch to 'pointer' style handling that is, from which I quickly reverted back to the default style.
Alternative, better helicopters, parts etc can be amassed/sold as one progresses through the game. Unfortunatley though, this is done via poorly laid out screens and menus. This fact didn't however seemed to stop my daughter paid, who loved customising the colour and choosing new helicopters and trying them out (or watching me try them out I should add).
For some reason my daughter is still asking to play the game each morning.
The negatives of this title lead to me think that the industry should consider labelling games with a separate category to indicate the 'age playability' of a game, and not just the general age classifictaion rating. It's not all bad though, for some reason my daughter is still asking to play the game each morning, even though she cannot partake in the controls, she loves watching. Another positive is that this can be played ad-hoc, without the investment of several weeks of your life.
In conclusion I would say that if this title were a movie, it would potentially be described as a 'yarn', but a look at the current price would make it a very expensive one.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: