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Coraline Wii Review

12/08/2009 Family Teen Gamer Review
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Coraline Nintendo Wii


Nintendo Wii


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Based off of the critically acclaimed movie I've yet to see, comes this inevitable game tie in. Brace yourself for my astounding revelation though – it's not very good at all. Shocking, I know. It's a totally un-inspired game with absolutely nothing that makes it stand out at all.

There's a tortoise you can shake which gives answers like a magic 8 ball. I asked it – is this game any good? It told me not to count on it.

A large portion of Coraline is made up of minigames, which fall into two categories. They're either so easy that a toddler who has just learnt to grip the control could complete them, or they require pushing multiple buttons at once with nary a second leeway if you get it wrong.

This lack of balancing is baffling, as the game swings between the different levels of difficulty constantly. Luckily you can purchase a pass for the minigames if you really can't be bothered with a particularly hard section, but it seems bizarre that there has to be a way to skip a part of the game. I'm supposedly playing this for enjoyment, if something is so difficult or boring that players want to skip it, it should be improved or removed. Also, to skip a minigame you have to spend a lot of buttons, the games resource, so you can't fly past everything. Of course, the way to get more buttons so you can skip another minigame is to, you guessed it, complete some minigames.

The tone of the story is pretty dark, like it should be - anyone else want to sew buttons on their eyes, anyone?

The game isn't broken, as far as I can tell, but it's simply bland, uninspiring and dull. Opportunities are missed to make the most of the Wii's motion controls, such as how you control the slingshot with the thumbstick rather than the Legend of Zelda style of pointing at the screen. As a result, aiming with the slingshot is clunky and minigames where you have to use it are frustrating.

These design flaws, that make the game seem like it was released years ago, are rampant throughout the game. Because the mini-games are such a large portion of the game, they have to be well made. Of course, they aren't. Apart from the swinging difficulty levels mentioned earlier, obvious opportunities to make the game fun have been completely overlooked. There are a few musical mini games, but they totally overlook the basic gameplay premises that make other music games so fun. Instead of having you hitting buttons at the same time as the notes, which seems like an obvious design choice to me, they've opted to have the buttons placed with absolutely no regard for the tune. This theme of missed opportunities continues throughout the game. There's a good story for the game to be based on, but it's ruined due to poor design choices.

The tone of the story is pretty dark, like it should be - anyone else want to sew buttons on their eyes, anyone? But it's generally ruined by the poor presentation and inane objectives. If you're in the normal part of the world, everything is exceptionally dull. Playing Go Fish with your neighbours? Finding 7 blue items in the house? Or how about stacking newspapers on top of each other. I understand that Coraline is meant to be bored in the normal world, but the developers seemed to have missed the point of the game.

Yes, playing as Coraline whilst she's doing mundane things all day does show how bored she is. However, it also bores me, seeing as I'm effectively spending my time to play at doing things someone else finds boring. What part of that sounds fun?

The game is also really short. Although I wasn't really keeping track, I finished it in maybe two or three hours. On the one hand, this is way less than a game should be, and considering how much of the material is recycled its shocking how little game there is. The same few mini-games (the one mentioned earlier with the combination button pushing makes many an appearance) crop up over and over again. However, after you've finished the game you can get on with your life and leave Coraline behind, so maybe it's a good thing that the game is miniscule in length.

Everything works fine, and you can play through the entire game without wanting to throw your controller through the window.

I'm not even angry or annoyed about the game. Yes, it's terrible, but not in an ‘in your face' way. Some games are down right broken, and those annoy me. Some games are so awful that they annoy me. But this game is just … boring. It doesn't even evoke any emotion. Everything works fine, and you can play through the entire game without wanting to throw your controller through the window (as I have wanted to do whilst playing genuinely good games). There's just nothing that stands out, nothing that excites or intrigues. The most I felt whilst playing this insipid game was a sense of happiness when the credits rolled and I could continue with my life.

Written by Rowan Brown

You can support Rowan by buying Coraline

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Rowan Brown writes the Teen Gamer column.

"I write about my favourite games from a younger person's perspective. It's often surprising how different this ends up to other more grown up reviews."

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