Ubisoft takes Nintendo 3DS gamers on a hectic action ride, following the antics of the eponymous hero, Tintin, in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. Does this video game adaptation of the recent movie release follow in the footsteps of every other faux-pas, or does it break the trend of cheap cash-ins?
As expected, the story through the game version of The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn follows the movie adaptation of the classic to the letter, except being on a handheld it takes a slightly different approach to how scenes are delivered. Rather than lavish CG cut-scenes, the approach Ubisoft Barcelona has taken (with some help from Ubisoft Montpellier) is one of extremely effective partially animated 3D comic book panels. These appear between the various chapters of the game, following the exploits of an intrepid young reporter with a nose for danger, and some highly impressive Prince of Persia skills. The developers worked closely with the film-makers to bring the movie to life on the little screen and the representation in the Nintendo 3DS iteration strongly mimics the home console editions, as well as the atmosphere of the movie.
The idea of The Adventures of Tintin is to investigate a great mystery in the hope of uncovering ancient treasures previously thought to be lost forever. Many sections play similar to a traditional 2D side-scrolling adventure, but there are areas where the camera moves dynamically dependent on the situation faced, in an old school Resident Evil fashion, except without the cumbersome control system since any character being controlled is smoothly moved around using the Circle Pad with the greatest of ease. There are some top-down parts as well, where Tintin’s faithful hound, Snowy, must use his keen sense of smell to track down people, sniff away in different areas to find clues or the path to a new section, picking up the scent of key elements, or squeeze into small alcoves to retrieve essential items. On the journey to get to the bottom of The Secret of the Unicorn mystery, Tintin can also enlist help from Captain Haddock in the battle against art collectors, arms dealers, along with many other queer folk. Further into the adventure, though, there is chance to expand the roster from three to six, each extra one having their own skill set and personality type.
The majority of the action is extremely smooth and rather like the old Another World and Prince of Persia 2D side-scrolling titles, and Tintin has three main methods of knocking enemies out; hitting them with punches (or kicks when air bound), sneaking up behind and slamming them to the ground, or picking up items to launch at their heads. The last technique proves highly useful during puzzle solving elements as well, since hitting certain objects or triggers is impossible without the use of projectiles launched at the correct trajectory. The action does not have to be endured alone, though, with a friend able to join in the fun and frolics via local wireless gameplay, completing certain levels in a race to the finish, and even sharing record time results via StreetPass.
Over the 20-plus stages lifted from the film, spread across the world, the standard run and punch style gameplay may grow a little tiresome for some. However, the developer has tried to alleviate such a problem by including plenty of hidden extras dotted around levels, the chance to use new skills that characters acquire, as well as take part in several mini-games that are a welcomed break from the main story. If the plane piloting, sword fighting, underwater swimming and even time-travelling antics are not enough to satiate gamers, there is even a special mode where Tintin and Haddock must work through various side-scrolling stages against the clock, switching between characters at specific points to use their specialist skills for the sake of swift progression. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn may not set the world of platform games on fire, but it certainly delivers a very sturdy, if somewhat brief, adventure that should keep fans of the movie satisfied.
Solid platform antics abound, with plenty of puzzle extras, a great two-player experience, and some clever stage layouts.
Fantastic representations of the movie are only marred by a small amount of slowdown from time-to-time.
The rousing soundtrack definitely helps to keep gamers on their toes throughout.
The brief main adventure is fun while it lasts, with a few extras thrown in for good measure to ensure it lasts longer than a mere handful of hours.
Ubisoft has done the unexpected, delivering an extremely solid movie tie-in with The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn. This solid platform adventure on Nintendo 3DS proves to be great fun throughout, despite its brevity, with pleasing extras and a great two-player race element.