A review by Jeremy Hardin
Game – Wreck-It Ralph
Developer/Publisher – ImaginEngine/Pipeworks/Activision
Version – 3DS
Price – $29.99
Obtained – Review Copy courtesy of Activision
Wreck-It Ralph is an indirect sequel of sorts to the recent box office hit by the same name. In this videogame version, the events take place directly after the end of the movie. Ralph inadvertently unleashes a swarm of Cybugs and it’s up to Ralph and Felix to save the day, yet again.
Gameplay and Controls
Wreck-It Ralph is a side-scrolling platformer with light puzzling elements, in which you the Game Master will take control of both Ralph and Felix throughout each level. You’ll start off in Game Central Station where you have access to 3 different games – Fix-It Felix Jr., Heros Duty, and Sugar Rush. Each game has 4 levels, plus a boss battle. In addition to battling the Cybugs in each level, your goal is to collect as many coins as you can. You can also try and obtain the two collectables, a Hero’s medal and an Easter Egg. If you collect both these items, you unlock character art illustrations. You can switch between characters at the push of a button and whenever you want. As expected, Ralph and Felix have a limited, but distinct set of moves. Ralph is able to climb ladders, destroy obstacles, charge up a punch attack and plow through enemies by running full speed ahead. Felix on the other hand, is able to fix broken machines and assemble parts, throw his hammer as a projectile, hit with his hammer and double jump. The double jump comes in handy when Ralph just can’t access those hard to reach places.
Controlling the characters is easy, although I found the controls to be a bit sluggish at times. This was especially noticeable when engaging an enemy. While playing as Ralph I found myself vulnerable to enemy attacks due to getting ‘stuck’ in the attack animation. While this wasn’t a complete game breaker, it detracts from the overall experience. Players can use the L button to switch between Ralph and Felix at any time. The B button is used to jump, while X and Y are used to attack. As Ralph the X button causes him to run straight ahead plowing through enemies, while the Y button is used to punch or execute a charged punch attack. While playing as Felix, players can use B to double jump, X to throw the hammer and Y to hit with the hammer. I suppose it is worth mentioning, the difficulty is considerably low, which is good for kids, but a bit boring for older gamers who like a challenge.
Visuals and Sound
The graphics are decent as are the character animations, for instance, if you stand still while controlling Ralph he will sniff his armpits and say “Hmm.” Felix will begin to look around and toss his hammer into the air. Although they aren’t important, these subtle little touches are always a plus. The levels look alright, but the design is incredibly generic and repetitive, with the exception of Fix-It Felix Jr. which seems to have a bit more variety than the other two games. The audio is okay, I found the tracks to get repetitive, but never too stale. The voice over work is good and anytime you switch between characters or you die there is always a voice sample played, sometimes even by other characters such as Vanellope and Calhoun. I feel the same way about these minor little touches as I do about the character animations. They aren’t really important, but they do add to the overall experience and I appreciate them.
Concluding Overall Impressions
Although Wreck-It Ralph has some cool visuals, decent gameplay and some throwbacks to old-school gaming, the appeal doesn’t last for too long, but then again neither does the game. The unlockables are alright, it’s always neat getting to see character illustrations, but that’s about it. Despite all that, it’s safe to say you’ll have an enjoyable afternoon (but no longer) playing through Wreck-It Ralph.