|Min OS X: 10.4|
Click to enlarge
The Buzz level is a game within the game, and is actually quite fun
Requirements:Mac OS X: 10.5.8 | CPU: Intel Core Duo Processor | RAM: 1 GB | HD Space: 6 GB | Graphics: ATI Radeon X1600 or NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT or Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) X3100 (Intel GMA 950 not supported)
Review: by Daniel Knowles
Usually, second sequels and video-game movie tie-ins are two things that you expect to be bad. Toy Story 3 the movie however has shown that you shouldn’t always judge a film by the number after the title – it is a fantastic finale to the CGI film my generation loved most of all. Toy Story 3 the game, brought to Macs by TransGaming, unfortunately provides no such revelation. This is by no means a terrible game, but it is everything that the movie isn’t. It is uninspiring, badly put together and frequently dull. More like a DreamWorks project than a Pixar one, it is occasionally very entertaining but mostly falls flat, and should probably only be given to children and to obsessive Toy Story fans.
The game is divided up into two halves – a story mode and a ‘Toybox’ free roaming mode. I would be interested to know which part the developers came up with first, because somehow both bits manage to feel slightly tacked on. I would guess that the toybox mode is the heart of the game because all of the promotional material centres on it and that is where the most original segments of the game are locked up. Both parts have elements that are really quite fun, like running around Zurg’s base zapping robots, but both also contain bits that are infuriatingly awful, like the entire ‘Bonnie’s house’ level. The awkward controls and clunky camera affect both halves equally, so that gives no hint.
The story mode is certainly the less surprising part of the game. Containing a mix of game play styles clearly inspired by games like Ratchet and Clank or even the more venerable Crash Bandicoot, the story mode is a mix of 2.5d and 3d platforming roughly following the story of the movie. Somewhat ridiculously, there is very little actual story telling – players are simply dumped into each scenario with no explanation of why they are there. Given that anyone playing this will have almost certainly watched the movie it is understandable that the developers didn’t want to overburden the game with cut scenes, but it still seems weird having to cross reference to the movie to understand why the characters are suddenly in an incinerator or escaping from a daycare centre. Weirder still is the fact that the final section – a boss fight as Buzz with a giant floating ragdoll witch – wasn’t in the movie at all, at least not in my memory.
In both sides of the game you play as a mix of Buzz, Woody and Jessie, although which one makes essentially no difference to the gameplay. In the toy box mode, all three are identical except for appearances. In the story mode each character has some special abilities – Buzz can throw further, and Woody can use his voice cord as a lasso for example – but as there is only one way to solve each puzzle it just makes for tedious character switching as necessary. In much of the story mode that is the main dynamic of the game – switch to Woody to access a switch, use Buzz to throw Jessie up to a wall, use Jessie to jump across some perilously tiny thumb tacks. For situations when it is not obvious what to do the developers kindly included a mechanism which will tell you exactly what to do and with which character, even animating it twice. This seems something of an excuse for not putting in particularly balanced puzzles, but it will at least save children from the vengeful anger that used to engulf me when I was stuck on a video game as a child.