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Having played Planet Rescue: Endangered Island DS we come to the first outing for the series on the Wii. What on the DS struggled to convince us of an ongoing franchise, on the Wii finally makes sense.
Minigames come in a variety of shapes and sizes. What unites the genre is the speed with which players can pickup the games and the relatively short time required to complete a level or two.
In addition to the environmental credentials of the game we have an accomplished story driven experience that tasks players with various animal-care challenges. Each event is introduced through the overarching story of the African animal rescue centre. And each requires both speed and dexterity to complete.
The fine precision control required by the game makes high use of the Wii-mote pointing. This gives the game a great sense of surgical precision in some activities whilst teach some good basic physiology in others.
Although players are here treating animals rather than people, Planet Rescue: Wildlife Vet is quite similar to that seen in Trauma Centre: New Blood Wii (and the more recent Trauma Centre: Second Opinion Wii).
As I said in the introduction this game brings more weight to bear in its presentation than its diminutive DS counterparts. Both the visuals and orchestral score add a real sense of occasion and much needed gravetas to a game dealing with such weighty subject matter.
The African setting and prospect of playing at animals and vets is enough to entice a wide range of younger gamers. They are well catered for a good overarching story that leads them through each activity.
Encountering a new problem or procedure against the clock is more than enough to get most people's competitive juices flowing. As the time ticks down and you realise just how much there is left to do the adrenalin starts pumping and your hands start shaking. Much like the old favourite board game Operation, what results is both entertaining for the player and those watching.
The minigames are usually strung together to represent a particular animal rescue scenario. Because of this they can take upwards of ten minutes. Although each of these experiences is a little longer than other minigame based titles, the overall duration is quite short.
Becuase the player is led through each stage in a linear fashion, savvy players may get through the game's main experience in five or six hours. As one young player remarked "this game would have been amazing if there would have been more treatments and a better storyline to follow, which would make the game a lot longer".
The game's focus on precision pointing of the Wii-motes makes it a little fiddley for young and novice players who are not used to this type of interaction. The game also depicts injured animals that may unsettle very young players sensitive to this issue.
Intermediate players will enjoy the unique interactions offered by the Wii's controls, although may find the experience a little short lived.
Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.
"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."
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: