Wreck It Ralph – Smashingly Mediocre
I’m sure by this point, if you are a gamer, you’ve seen Wreck-It Ralph. At the very least, you’ve heard of it and kind of know that it involves fictitious arcade game characters. If you know me at any level, you also know I adored the ever loving crap out of this movie as well, having seen it multiple times, playing the “How many video game references did this movie make?” game constantly?
However, I should have learned by this point in my life that games released corresponding to a movie are ultimately going to be disappointing. Whether this game corresponded with the movie release or came out years later, they always seem to be a let down at best and usually abysmal. While Wreck-It Ralph isn’t a total abomination, there’s nothing truly special about it that stands out.
At least for me, I was hoping to experience pretty much the same game of Fix-It Felix Jr. I saw kids enjoying in the movie. It wasn’t like it completely steered from that path but what you are presented with on your tablet feels like an unnecessarily watered down version of what player’s experienced on the big screen. It’s lacking that something special that appeared to make the movie version of the game magical.
For starters, and I’m well aware this shouldn’t make or break a game, the whole bit where Ralph exclaims “I’m Gonna Wreck It!” is completely omitted from the mobile version of this game. Why that is, is beyond me, but it honestly doesn’t seem like it needed to be left out. Would it really have killed the programmers to add in this little tidbit from the movie?
The controls, for as simple as they are, also took a bit of getting used to. Sure, there’s a whopping two buttons and I have large hands. But the buttons didn’t feel as responsive as the controls do for other games I’ve played and it took forever for me to realize you slide y
our finger on the directional pad rather than pressing the corresponding direction you wish Fix-It Felix to move. Would have been nice to be told that in the directions before I looked like an idiot, smashing my tablet. :S
If you play the free flash version of the game on Disney’s website, you get a couple more nuances added to the game, including better sound effects and sharper 8 bit graphics. Not that the graphics of the Android version are terrible by any means, but interesting to note a free version of the game appears “better” or “nicer looking” than the paid version.
While the game advertises “3 games for the price of one”, you’re actually restricted to just Fix-It Felix Jr. until you get to a certain point in that game. The other two games are also rather lackluster, as you aren’t getting a Sugar Rush kart racing game, but rather a game centered around climbing stacks of candy. That is a major disappointment because myself and my wife, including many people I know, would’ve shot the Duck Hunt dog just to have a Candy Rush Racer game. The Hero’s Duty game also feels like a bland Smash TV style game, shooting the cy-bugs instead of mutant Nazis (or whatever the hell it was you were fighting in Smash TV).
However, the game play itself, taking away all of the special elements missing from a licensed product, is pretty decent. It’s good that the game does not keep spitting out the same levels over and over, but adds new obstacles to each level, impeding Felix’s ability to just cruise through the board. Instead, Felix will have to avoid the ever so vicious flying Mallard ducks, avoid falling bricks, as well as shutters and window gardens blocking his path to repair. Just goes to show you that some property dwellers aren’t concerned about the plight of the maintenance crew.
The menus between the three games also included many little quips to the movie, such as Vannellope Von Sweet cutely asking Ralph “You’re not from around here, are you?” as well as the drab blue guy who is in charge of Game Central station. Player’s aren’t completely denied all the sweet little things that made Wreck-It Ralph such a fun experience for viewers young and old.
The Wreck-It Ralph game for the Android isn’t terrible, but it isn’t anything special either. It’s hard to argue for or against spending the 99 cents on this game, as there are worse things you could spend a dollar on (Like a horse meat hot dog from IKEA). But if you are buying it, expecting to get the same experience as you saw in the movie, you’re better meandering over to the Disney website and playing the flash game. At least there, you aren’t burning any money and really don’t have anything to complain about for a flat-lined experience. You’ll also have access to a platformer and a shooter themed around Wreck-It Ralph, but are forced to get through some Fix-It Felix Jr first, even without hearing John C. Reilly shout “I’m gonna wreck it!”