This month, Telltale games presents the newest faces in episodic gaming, Wallace and Gromit
Telltale Games has been a forerunner in episodic point and click adventure games starting with the first season of Sam and Max released in 2006. Most recently they added the Strong Bad franchise to their line up and this month they’re introducing the first of four Wallace and Gromit episodes. For this newest set of adventures changes have been made, but a dedication to capturing the spirit of the original material shines through to create a unique gaming experience.
There are several things which were immediately charming about Wallace and Gromit. There’s a lot of effort which has been put in place to really bring the world of the duo to life. The initial tutorial gives you the opportunity to get a feel for the controls, which have changed from the Sam and Max and Strong Bad design. Previously these games were solely point and click through the mouse interface.
Stupid toast stealing squirrel!!!
Someone broke the autopilot.
Now the character movements are controlled by the arrow keys and the interactions with objects and people with the mouse. This change has pros and cons. It’s a much more familiar set up similar to first person shooters, but it’s very different for these games, so I found myself occasionally double clicking to try to get Wallace to move and only then remembering I had to use the keyboard. The nicest thing about this is that it’s easier to get the characters into tight spaces or awkward angles which the mouse control has always struggled with. Much like other Telltale games the point and click interface is straight forward and clickable objects are bracketed so you know exactly what you can and can’t use, much decreasing the pixel hunting.
Soundwise I approved of the voicing of the characters. Those with a sharp ear will be able to tell Wallace is not voiced by Peter Sallis, but the voicing is very close and wasn’t a problem for me. The music changed frequently depending on local and who was there and swung between charming and completely annoying. I spent most of my time with the music turned down and the subtitles turned on.
So is it special cheese or just moldy?
Good flower, nice flower. I was waiting for it to eat her hand, but it never did.
Graphically the game is more advanced than its predecessors and I had a lot of trouble getting it to run correctly at a decent resolution on my machine, which was frustrating. I’m working on an accelerated card which chews through most of what I throw at it and it did fine with the downloaded demo, just not the full version. If you have problems with the graphics hit the setting menu and start adjusting. I eventually found a sweet spot which allowed me to move forward, but I would have liked it to run more smoothly from the get go.
When it comes to the requisite adventure puzzles Wallace and Gromit falls somewhere in the middle ground for difficulty. There were several series of figuring out what to do in which order starting with not breaking the eggs all over the counter and the toast stealing squirrel from hell, but none of these held me up for too long. It was mostly a matter of experimenting with what I had in my inventory and everything I could click on in the room until I found the logical progression of the puzzle.
What's a Wallace and Gromit adventure without cool inventions?
Noooo…don't fall on my head!
I enjoyed the humor of the game, especially the crazy inventions for everything from the automatic egg smusher, to the car autopilot and the honey machine. I was also pleased with the general interactions between Wallace and Gromit being true to the source material. Gromit’s interactions are conveyed in motion so it was critical to get those parts right and, for the most part, they were we’ll expressed. However, when compared to Sam and Max or Strong Bad, the humor beats seemed slower in this offering and not quite as compelling. Part of that may be because there is only dialogue coming from one of the lead characters and the faster flow of the earlier games was built on a verbal interplay.
WALLACE AND GROMIT'S GRAND ADVENTURES VERDICT
Overall this is a solid offering and I’m interested to see how the next three episodes or the season comes together. Telltale continues to innovate in each series by not sticking to the same methods, which is nice to see. This episode took around 7 to 8 hour to play, though I suspect it could be completed more quickly if you kept right to the storyline and didn’t wander around clicking things just to see what would happen, but I like to see what makes the gameworld tick, or in the case of the Fright of the Bumblebee, what makes it buzz.
TOP GAME MOMENT
Saving Wallace from the Queen Bee… And finding the little rat robot. It was cute.