It’s July 3, 2013, and we’re right in the midst of the summer movie season. Big name movies have been flashing across the screens which means only one thing, movie games. We’ve reached a point where practically every movie gets a tie-in of some sort. The problem is, most movie games stink. They’re cash grabs, rushed out to take advantage of the hype. Most of them aren’t worth your time.
Which is why I’m here. I have decided to sacrifice myself, for you. I’ve given up a good… well… let’s say two hours… to play these movie games so you don’t have to. You can thank me later. (I’d love an Animal Crossing: New Leaf plushie. Just saying.)
Despicable Me: Minion Rush (Android, iOS)
I already discussed the Despicable Me 2 tie-in, Despicable Me: Minion Rush in an installment of Android Amusements, so I’m only going to briefly go through it here. This is an endless runner where players help one of Gru’s minions run through areas, trying to outdo the other minions and avoid obstacles so he can be named Minion of the Year. It looks fantastic, has responsive touch screen controls and manages to be good for players of all ages.
Is Despicable Me: Minion Rush going to eventually make grabby hands at your wallet? Yes. It’s one of those free-to-play movie games though, so you have to expect it. Fortunately, it doesn’t happen that often and as long as you’re patient, you should be fine. Parents should make sure to turn off the in-app purchases before giving it to kids, to be safe.
Okay, so Pacific Rim: Jaeger Combat Simulator is a browser-based action game promoting Pacific Rim. You can design your own mech, which involves visiting a different website and granting Facebook authorization, then take that mech or a prebuilt one through one of five Kaiju fighting missions in a simulation. You pick one of four partners for the neural link and three weapons, then step through into a digital battle.
I’ve got to admit, I was experiencing shades of Evangelion, but I digress.
While Pacific Rim: Jaeger Combat Simulator actually looks pretty good, given its a browser-based game, the gameplay is absolutely terrible. When selecting weapons, my viewpoint would suddenly shift and I’d have to right myself to see if I had been able to scroll to the one I wanted or not. During an actual battle, it shifted from the helpful first-person perspective to a third person view that kept putting the mech between myself and the Kaiju. Since there was no way to lock on, I never knew if I was hitting it and, due to the perspective, I couldn’t see when it was about to hit me. I died. Quickly.
Verdict: Good thing it’s free, because no one would ever pay for this.
Okay, I’m cheating a teeny bit when it comes to R.I.P.D. The Game. When GamerTell was at E3 2013, we got to play a demo of this movie game. I guess you could call it a cooperative, competitive, third person shooter. Players choose to be either Ryan Reynolds or Jeff Bridges, sorry – Nick Cruz or Roy Pulsipher – and kill people who are already dead. Deados, to be specific.
The concept is ridiculous and the game is as well. People have to shoot as many enemies before time runs out, while also trying to influence the bets. Before a round, you can bet on what will happen, so you may want to try and take down X amount of enemies or some such to “win.” It wasn’t very visually impressive, but the multiplayer did work well at E3. (Probably because you’re right in the same room as the other person.) It wasn’t the best shooter I’d ever played, but it was a work in progress.
Verdict: Too early to tell, but I’d probably pick it up if it was on sale.
Remember Smurfs’ Village? Think of The Smurfs & Co: Spellbound as part 2. It’s yet another Facebook city building simulation. Which means it’s technically free-to-play, but after about a week people will hit a wall and have to decide if they pay to keep playing, or abandon the Smurfs.
Though this is another blatant cash-in attempt and rip-off of countless city games before it, I have to admit that at least The Smurfs & Co: Spellbound looks good. The art style is reminiscent of the original cartoon series and comic books, rather than the new Smurfs CG movie art. So while this is one of those movie games, you could pretend it’s a cartoon game instead. Which is good, because those CG Smurfs are smurfing creepy.
Verdict: If you really need another Facebook diversion, fine, but don’t spend any money on it.
World War Z is a bit of a hot-button issue for me, because I thoroughly enjoyed Max Brooks’ book, but hate how they turned the movie into just another zombie flick. Appropriately enough, the World War Z game is just like the actual movie. There’s nothing that really sets it apart from all of the other first person, on-rails, zombie shooters. You go through 28 levels, which have late PS1-early PS2 quality visuals, taking down zombies. There’s minimal effort to create ambiance, by offering audio and text snippets from other people facing the menace, but it doesn’t really come together to make a difference. There are zombies, you’re on a set path with basic weapons and you have to fight your way through.
“But Jenni!” You assert. “What do you expect when you’re only paying $2.99 for the Android version or $0.99 for the iOS version?” Well, I expect the game to work. How about that? My Android tablet met all the requirements but, sure enough, the app would still freeze and crash randomly. I never got past the third level, which is why I didn’t cover it for this week’s Android Amusements. I didn’t get to play enough to make that article viable. But, I did play more than enough to make a recommendation here.
Also, the World War Z game isn’t just $2.99 or $0.99. It has an in-game cash shop too, which could make it more expensive. Keep your kids away from this one, or they could end up buying in-game gold to spend on extra weapons.
Verdict: If you loved the book, no. If you liked the movie, only if you’d don’t have a McDonald’s near by where you can spend the money on one of those $0.49 ice cream cones instead.
So there you have it. In case you fell asleep or skipped through part of this movie games overview, let’s review. Do play Despicable Me: Minion Rush. Consider The Smurfs & Co: Spellbound for your kids. Wait on R.I.P.D. The Game. Finally, turn away from Pacific Rim: Jaeger Combat Simulator and World War Z, never looking back.