Game Review: Yogi Bear (Wii, DS)

Yogi Bear for Wii and DS is based on the new computer animated movie. Play as Yogi and help him swipe pic-a-nic baskets aplenty in Jellystone Park. So is it ‘smarter than the average movie-based game?’ Read on to find out.

The Wii game is a 2-D platform jumping adventure. Hold the Wii remote sideways like a game controller as you guide Yogi around Jellystone Park, searching for photos of endangered animals to help Ranger Smith promote the park’s 100th Anniversary. Yogi can jump, crawl, and belly flop to stun temperamental animals like porcupines, skunks, and hawks. Collect enough pic-a-nic baskets and slices of pie to earn an extra try, or discover many secret areas to earn merit badges and other goodies.

The main problem with the Wii Yogi Bear game is that if you get hit once, you have to start over at a checkpoint, or at the beginning if you haven’t reached one yet. You can pick up a power-up: a pan helmet that lets you take an extra hit, but that’s all. It wouldn’t be so bad if there were more checkpoints and pan helmet power-ups, but they are pretty sparse. Young players, who this game was designed for, might get frustrated with the prickly one-hit challenges.

Believe it or not, the DS version of Yogi Bear is a much better game! It’s still a 2-D platformer where you run around, collecting pies and pic-a-nic baskets while avoiding angry critters. But what makes the DS title superior is that you can take multiple hits from enemies before losing, making this a much friendlier game. Plus, the graphics are better, the levels are more varied, and the characters look more like their movie counterparts.

Collect all the pic-a-nic baskets in a level to unlock photos and other goodies, and gather enough hidden gears and you can build a gadget. You can then use these makeshift contraptions, like high jump shoes, to help you traverse the levels. There are also a couple of touch screen based mini-games outside of the main adventure.

Kid Factor:

Both versions of Yogi Bear are rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Comic Mischief. You can stun animals with a belly flop, and if Yogi gets hit, he just spins around. But that’s as violent as it gets. Reading skill is helpful for some of the text, but moreso in the DS version. If you’re OK with your kids watching the movie, they’ll be OK with this game, too. The DS version is clearly the better game for younger players, as it is not as frustrating (and less expensive, too).

Boo Boo Blues

It’s seems kind of weird that they would make a CG Yogi Bear film, don’t you think? I’m OK with Dan Aykroyd voicing Yogi, as I’m a fan of old school SNL and Ghostbusters. But Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo? I don’t know about that. I actually got to meet the ORIGINAL voice of Boo Boo once. His name was Don Messick, and he was a guest at one of the first Project A-Kon anime conventions in Dallas. He did the voices for lots of classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon stars, including Boo Boo, Papa Smurf, Scooby Doo, Scrappy Doo, Ricochet Rabbit, Muttley, and Hampton Pig from Tiny Toons. He was very nice and really put on a show for us. When I asked him to do Muttley’s famous snickering laugh, he said he used to could do it better before he stopped smoking! I’m really glad I got to meet Don Messick before he passed away. I wonder if he’s rolling in his grave because of who’s doing the voice of Boo Boo now? But who knows? Maybe Don Messick would be happy if Justin Timberlake does a good job. Maybe I’ll go see the Yogi Bear movie out of morbid curiosity. But I certainly won’t pay full price for a ticket! I’ll go to a matinee or something.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!