Nick Parks Wallace and Gromit appear for the second time on PS2 following the recent success of their first silver screen adventure Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit. The duo have been entertaining fans since the original 1989 stop-motion adventure A Grand Day Out, itself followed by two more widely appealing animated adventures which saw the Northern genius Wallace and canine friend Gromit steal diamonds and fight a mad robot dog in the nineties.
Ten years later and the videogame of the film has arrived and it carries the feel of Wallace and Gromit rather well. The animation doesn't have the same charm as the stop-motion movie as you may expect but the in game characters portray the look and movement of their plasticine likenesses pretty well, the upbeat brassy music too is in keeping with the style of the series and movie.
You take control of Wallace, Gromit and Hutch the rabbit as you play through the familiar film tie in layout of levels based on various parts of the movie plot divided up by cutscenes from the movie which advance the plot and provide the storyline, the cutscenes are long but well done and funny, not all of the films best parts are given away which is good and the cutscenes still manage to be enjoyable anyway, which matters as they are also unskippable.
The story follows that Wallace and Gromit are running a pest control service called Anti-Pesto who are being credited with success at clearing away the rabbits which threaten the towns vegetable festival. Unfortunately the bunnies escape back into the town and become a threat to the festival again which is where you step in to help by clearing them all up and saving the prize vegetables. During a botched attempt to brainwash the rabbits into behaving Wallace has accidentally created the Were-Rabbit who tears through garden after garden
During the levels you roam around completing tasks largely by chasing runaway rabbits with the Bunvac in order to capture and later contain them, groups of rabbits can be herded along by running around them in order to push them along. This soon gets tedious which is bad as it is what you will spend a lot of time doing. As the game progresses you get access to more of Wallaces inventions that serve as power ups for you like the Auto-brolly and Bunny Hopper which give the player extra abilities.
Herding the rabbits around into their manhole 'exits' is easier than it looks and the bunvac can always grab any lone ones and fire them into the manholes from quite a distance if aimed correctly. The bunvac can also be used to pick up and fire other small objects in order to help retrieve rabbits and solve puzzles
You can switch between the three characters with L2 at any time and call the others for help sometimes with L1 in situations that require teamwork in order to get through.
The controls are generally good once you get used to the timing of the jumps which could have done with being just a touch more responsive, but navigating the levels should be easy enough for even the younger players the game may appeal to.
The camera can be panned and zoomed with the right analogue stick while roaming around and will sometimes go to a fixed view of the action for some jumps or puzzles, the fixed views are usually well placed but occasionally the camera can be unhelpful to you.
You recover the rabbits by accepting missions from the townsfolk you find in the levels who give out tasks to complete under certain conditions such as a time limit in order to complete the levels and obtain cards. Also scattered around the levels you can find coins, which may be used to buy supplies from the in game shop to aid you in the minigame in which you must grow a prize-winning vegetable.
The graphics are colourful and bright with a cartoony feel to them and while the surroundings aren't a perfect recreation of Wallace and Gromits world but they look great anyway, there is some slowdown in the framerate on some levels at first but so occasionally it doesn't interrupt the game.
The animation is smooth well done and fits the feel of the series fine despite being different in style to the movie as mentioned. This is because the movements of the characters and their gestures and poses are recreated very well.
Overall the visuals are soft and easy on the eyes. The cartoony style will amuse and entertain the younger audience it is aimed.
Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit may keep younger players amused as it never really gets overly difficult and is easy to pick up and get into. The main gripe I have with it is that is can get boring and repetitive fetching rabbits out of the scenery and herding them away down the holes, most older fans of the platform puzzler genre will almost definitely be more happy with some of the genres more faster paced titles like God of War or the more challenging Prince of Persia games. Still this isn't a bad game, the visuals and sounds are good and the brilliant implementation of the theme and storyline will keep fans playing through.