Get your cheese and crackers ready, because the Academy Award-winning clay animated duo, Wallace and Gromit, are back! This time, they’re starring in a series of episodic point and click adventures from TellTale Games, makers of the Sam & Max and Strong Bad titles. The first of four of the 3-6 hour long episodes, Fright of the Bumblebees, can be downloaded on your PC (visit TellTale’s Web site), and later this Spring it’ll also be available on Xbox Live.
For those not in the know, Wallace is an inventor of crazy Rube Goldberg machines that don’t always work the way he intended, and Gromit is his silent but devoted dog, who is the more intelligent of the two. In the first episode, Wallace and Gromit are in the bee business, delivering honey direct from the source via pipes. They have a little beehive in their basement, and all Wallace has to do is feed them flowers with his Pollen-O-Matic. When Wallace gets an order for a whopping 50 gallons of honey, he has to find a way to get a bunch of flowers…and fast! After helping Wallace procure ingredients for a quick grow formula, you’ll have enough flowers for the hive. But then Wallace and Gromit get into an even BIGGER (literally) bee problem!
In the game you control both Wallace and Gromit separately in typical point and click adventure fashion. Use the mouse to point on objects and use items in your inventory to solve puzzles. The animation and ‘feel’ of the game is top notch, from the humor to the high speed chase climax. If this weren’t a video game, it would probably be up for an Academy Award for best animated short film.
There are really only two nitpicky problems that I can pinpoint with this game. First of all, TellTale didn’t get the original voice actor (Peter Sallis) for Wallace in this adventure. For the first few lines, the new voice actor sounded a little jarring, in a manner of speaking. But the more I played the game and listened to Wallace’s quips, the more I realized that the new voice actor did a pretty bang-up job imitating Peter Sallis’ tone. It’s only a shame since the other Wallace and Gromit video games in the past were able to get Peter Sallis.
The other problem is even more minor. In most point and click adventures, you use the mouse to move and click on objects. But in Wallace and Gromit, you move with the WASD or arrow keys. You still view and pick up objects with the mouse, though. It would’ve been nice if you could have controlled the whole game with the mouse, but they had to do it this way since the game will also be on the Xbox 360 console and played with a controller. Really, moving around with the arrow keys didn’t bother me at all, personally, but it might bug others.
But again, these problems are so minor it’s hardly worth mentioning. Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures is looking to be another great point and click adventure from TellTale, with fun yet not too frustrating puzzles that’ll make you feel like part of the story. If you’ve got a PC or an Xbox 360, you’ll definitely want to download these games, especially if you’re a fan of point and click adventures and/or Wallace and Gromit.
Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures is rated E for Everyone. Nothing objectionable here, aside from some crazy cartoon antics like shooting porridge at bees and putting a battery in a blender! It’s definitely the most family friendly game TellTale has made to date. Some very young players might get slightly stumped at some of the puzzles, and may need a little help. But this is one game that’s great to play WITH your kids and family, as an extra set of eyes to help spot items and clues is always helpful for these kinds of games. Highly recommended.