Yogi Bear (Wii) Review – Smarter than the average bear? Okay. Is he more entertaining? Not even close.
A NintendoFuse game review by JHardin1112.
Game – Yogi Bear
Version – Wii
Time Spent Playing – 4 hours
Obtained – Review Copy from Fortyseven Communications
Thanks to Cartoon Network, I was introduced to Yogi Bear in 1990 via reruns of the popular 1961 series, “The Yogi Bear Show”. As an 8 year old at the time I found Yogi and his faithful pal Boo-Boo to be hilarious and engaging. He was always trying to steal pic-a-nic baskets and getting into trouble with the Ranger. Ah, such fond memories. Well, fast forward 20 years. I grew up (for the most part), got married, had kids, and stopped watching most cartoons. So its safe to say I’m not part of the target audience for this game. So when I heard there was going to be a Yogi Bear movie, I dismissed it as it didn’t appeal to me. Then, some time later I get an email about the upcoming release of the Yogi Bear game for the Wii. My hopes were not high for this venture as it is a movie to game adaptation. These almost never turn out that well. Still, I was pleasantly surprised with the Rango game as my review states, so I figured I’d give Yogi Bear a shot.
While it serves as a reason for Yogi to be traipsing through the park, the story is simple and uninspiring. Jellystone National Park is celebrating its 100th anniversary but threats of permanent park closure loom overhead. So, in an effort to save the park from closure the Ranger photographs a selection of the unique, wild animals visitors will see in Jellystone. The pictures are left on the Rangers desk underneath his pic-a-nic basket. Unable to resist his craving for pic-a-nic baskets and hijinks, Yogi uses a fishing pole to steal the Ranger’s pic-a-nic basket off his desk through an open window. Unfortunately, the basket was the only thing weighing down the pictures on the desk. To my surprise (not really), a strong breeze blows those pictures right out the window.
Now, it’s up to Yogi and Boo-Boo to search the park in an effort to find and photograph each of the 9 animals.
Gameplay and Controls
While the side-scrolling, platforming basis of the game is solid, the overall offering is shallow. Each level consists of running, jumping, swinging on vines, or belly-crawling your way through the level collecting pieces of pie, whole pies, or pic-a-nic baskets. For every fifty pie pieces you collect you earn an extra life. As the pie pieces are abundant, you should never have to worry about losing all your lives.
The enemies are few but there are many throughout each level. There are a handful of enemies to watch out for. Here are just three: skunks, porcupines, and eagles. One hit from any of these enemies means instant death provided you don’t have any armor on. Armor comes in the form of a metal pot which Yogi wears as a helmet. This will absorb one hit from any enemy. You have a couple of ways to stun your enemies. You can either belly-slide into them or belly-flop on or near them. Either action will cause the enemies to flip onto their backs for a few seconds allowing you the time to slip by before they right themselves. As each level has multiple checkpoints scattered about, dying is never a problem. Throughout each level, Yogi will pass by numerous bushes. These bushes can be searched by Yogi to reveal either a piece of pie, armor, or a temporary power-up such as, spring shoes or a rocket belt.
The goal of each level is to make it to the end where one of the aforementioned 9 animals awaits. However, the first few sections of each level the animal will run away. Only when you get to the end of a World will the animal wait with Boo-Boo and the Ranger. At this point you just have to take a picture of the animal. The only challenge here is that you have to hold your remote steady or the camera will shake too much to take the picture. Scattered throughout each level are three merit badges which you must collect in order to progress in the game. Some of these merit badges are plain to see while others are hidden. As you work your way on the World map through the game you will be stopped by the Ranger who informs you that he can’t let you go any further. The only way to progress is to hand over the merit badges. This will force the player to replay the same, bland levels multiple times and I assure you, it’s not fun.
Controlling Yogi is very simple as you only need to hold your Wii remote sideways. Players move Yogi with the D-Pad and press 2 to jump. To belly-flop players press down while jumping. In order to belly-slide, press down and 1 while running. When you walk by a bush that can be searched an on screen indicator will appear above Yogi directing you shake your remote. This will cause Yogi to search through the bush. The controls are simple because the game is aimed at a younger crowd. The controls work fine and I never had a problem with them.
Visuals and Sound
The visuals are plain and boring. The characters and objects are blocky in most instances. Plus, the animations for Yogi, Boo-Boo, and the Ranger are stiff. I feel the visuals are outdated. This game could just have easily been released on the Gamecube. There are no visuals which stand out or will impress you, and the level designs are quite generic. I really feel that the developers missed out on a potential opportunity here in terms of replay value. I’m talking about a level editor. I don’t know what tools the developers were using so I can’t just assume they would have been able to include a level editor, but it would have been nice. While playing, I noticed sometimes that Yogi would blend in too well to the backgrounds. I could still see him, but if I wasn’t sitting less than 5 feet from my TV, I started having minor trouble in certain environments.
The sounds are similar in description to the visuals, plain. At times, the audio plays a little too early. Before I even saw eagles flying across the screen I would hear their screech. Really, this just seemed out of place. Maybe it is meant to be an early warning system for the players but I don’t know. The voice-acting is fine, but the same few lines are repeated over and over again.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Yogi Bear offers you boring gameplay and bland level design. The only reason you would replay a level is because you are forced to in order to collect the merit badges. Rather than including enough content or worthwhile reasons to replay the levels the developers force it upon you. Having to replay levels I didn’t enjoy the first time around just to advance to even more levels I didn’t enjoy was ridiculous. The visuals are generic, blocky, and the animation is stiff. I would not recommend this game to anyone as there isn’t much entertainment value here.
Hey there Boo-Boo, it’s a bargain bin game for sure!
Final Score: 1 out of 5