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Disney's Winnie The Pooh's Rumbly Tumbly Adventure

Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Ubisoft Entertainment
Developer: Phoenix Game Studios
Media: GCD/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Adventure/ Family

Graphics & Sound:

Making a game aimed at kids is a tricky endeavor; the younger the kid, the harder it becomes. The usual route is to make a game that is as easy as possible, most of the time removing all challenge. An unfortunate drawback to doing this usually means that the game is a sub-par entry into the field and can’t hold the child’s attention. There should be no question in anyone’s mind as to who Disney’s Winnie the Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly Adventure is aimed at. Everything, from the graphics to gameplay, is clearly aimed at the younger set. But, like so many before it, Pooh falls victim to the same pitfalls that have plagued other kid-aimed games.

Production values are the game’s strongest elements. I’ll admit, when I was first handed the game, I wasn’t expecting much in the graphics department. In fact, I wasn’t expecting much to the game at all. Imagine my surprise when I popped in the game and was genuinely impressed with what I saw. While it doesn’t hold a candle to the presentation found in Kingdom Hearts, the Hundred Acre Woods still remains very true to the cartoons. Environments are very detailed and have a realistic, yet cartoony look to them. This compliments the big, bright, colorful characters that inhabit the game.

The sound side of things is just as good. The entire dialog is voiced by the cartoon’s actual voice actors and is perfectly delivered. These are not phoned in performances. Music is scarce and instead consists of ambient forest noises and Pooh’s user-controlled humming (more on this later).


Gameplay:

Winnie the Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly Adventure is split up into three modes: Adventure, Multiplayer, and Junior.

Adventure is the game’s main mode, at least for older players. Here you play through a series of flashbacks as Pooh remembers his friend’s birthday parties in an attempt to forget that he has a “...rumbly in my tummy.” (Expect to see this take over as the new Hollywood miracle diet any day now…) A large part of each level is spent solving puzzles. These include activities like riding Eeyore and catching butterflies or trying to find honey pots. How much a child gets out of Adventure mode will greatly depend on their activity level – which becomes one of the game’s main stumbling blocks.

To start, activities aren’t all that engaging or involving. Apparently the citizens of the 100 Acre Woods aren’t the most active of critters and require Pooh to keep their lives on track. The setup isn’t the game’s problem; it’s the lack of variety. A majority of game time is spent running from one side of the woods to the other collecting items, fixing bridges, and running deliveries. The end result is a game that offers very little action and a lot of walking around and doing the same things over and over again.

Completing levels in Adventure mode unlocks mini-games in Multiplayer mode. Like the rest of the game, each mini-game is easy to play and makes for a fun distraction – even for adults. Each of the games is molded, at least in some part, after classic arcade games like Pac-Man. Mini-games offer a little more action to keep players engaged, but – like most mini-games – the thrill can be short lived and may not keep them occupied for long. Since the mini-games are very simple to understand, younger siblings or parents (even those who are not the most adept gamers) can join in the multiplayer fun, increasing the longevity, but only by a bit.

Also included is a free-form mode called Junior mode. Although the game is clearly meant for the younger set, Junior mode is for even younger players (mainly the 5 and younger crowd). Unlike Adventure mode, there’s no set narrative or structure in Junior mode. Instead, players can freely roam the 100 Acre Woods and “play.” After discovering ringed areas, pressing the B button causes Pooh to perform some sort of action, such as holding onto a balloon and floating into the sky. Players can also play though some areas as other characters, each with their own unique activities.


Difficulty:

Honey pot searches prove to be one of the more frustrating elements of Rumbly Tumbly Adventure. Honey pots are hidden in parts of the scenery, such as under rocks or in trees. These objects are supposed to glow to indicate that something is hidden in them. The problem is that the glow isn’t as obvious as you might think. I can understand not wanting to make the glow too obvious, but what’s there is hard to see, which could lead to frustration for some children. There was actually a part of the game (much to the amusement of both Psibabe and J.R. Nip) when I couldn’t find some pots. This led to me simply hitting everything in the environment hoping to score a find.

Other than these searches, puzzles aren’t all that challenging. Nearly all puzzles are solved in the same way; you get an item (or items) and use it. At times boxes will block Pooh’s path. Solving these puzzles requires very little thought since the pattern for pushing the boxes is painfully obvious.


Game Mechanics:

Simple gameplay means a simply control scheme, at least on the surface. The actual control scheme is very easy to manage and takes little time to learn. Navigating between areas, on the other hand, is a major chore. The control scheme is very easy to understand regardless of which mode you’re in. While in Adventure mode, controls are a little more involved and reflect the mode’s more “complicated” gameplay. Junior mode reduces the scheme to a one-button scheme, putting more emphasis on “play.”

The 100 Acre Woods are split up into smaller areas, which are connected by short, but annoying, load times. Throw in the fact that most of the game involves traveling from one end of the woods to the other several times, load times become irritating. When coupled with the less-than-involved activities, this drags the game’s pacing down to a near crawl.

On the surface, Disney’s Winnie the Pooh’s Rumbly Tumbly Adventure does everything right. The game looks and sounds great, and has a license that should appeal to kids. Under the glossy exterior is a game that lacks much of what makes games entertaining in the first place. This makes the game a good rental for parents looking for a way to keep kids from driving the babysitter nuts, but lacks the lasting appeal that makes it a must buy.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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