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August 22, 2007

Ratatouille Demo

Before they went to bed earlier tonight, my kids and I played the Ratatouille demo that I downloaded from Xbox Live yesterday.

How was it?

Meh. Not bad. Not great. Your garden variety licensed platformer. What's funny is that my kids were having fun pointing out every time we ran into an invisible wall. If they were in college, it would have made a fun drinking game. They've also gotten good at pointing out other noticeable bugs like clipping.

But back to the invisible walls. To be fair, you could run around the demo level a good little bit, but there were plenty of times where we simply couldn't go where it seemed we should be able to. A lot of games use invisible walls, and that's usually not a big deal, but at least when you do it, how about not making it seem like a place you're supposed to go?

For example, the way the cheeses were arranged in the market, it seemed like we were expected to do the platforming thing to get to a higher level, but even though there seemed to be spaces in the cheese wheels specifically for climbing, we couldn't get where we wanted to go. Maybe that's a function of this being a demo build, but given that so many licensed kids' games do stuff like this as a matter of course, I'm not giving them the benefit if the doubt. Sorry.

Ratatouille is a perfect example of a mediocre licensed game that my kids would actually enjoy playing... until the novelty wears off in short order.

So in order to avoid whining when we don't buy the full version after playing the demo, or if I sell or trade a used copy of a game like this, I frame the issue as one of choice.

You can either keep a game that you like...

  • Ratatouille (OK)
  • Curious George (pretty good)
  • Cars (pretty good)
  • The Incredibles (sucky)
  • Over the Hedge (sucky)
  • etc.
...or you can keep a game that you love...

...and wouldn't you know it, they seem to make the right choice every single time. I'm so proud.


  • The problem is that so many of these games aren't just cash-ins...they're LAZY cash-ins. I understand the time constraints and the licensing issues...but most of the time, these are inferior games that are trading on the goodwill their properties have generated.

    And after that blush wears off, the game needs to be more than yet another poor Mario 64 clone with specific characters. As often as not, these games aren't bad, just mediocre...since they're often aping better games.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 6:15 AM  

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