A Movie Tie In Game That's Not Crap
It would have been easy for publisher Paramount Digital Entertainment and developer Behaviour Interactive to rehash the story of the Paramount Pictures/Nickelodean feature film Rango in this movie tie in game, but what they crafted was a new story extending the Rango fiction, beyond the events of the film. As much as this is a blessing, it also is one of the few shortfalls in this well crafted throwback action platform game.
I have not seen the film yet, so when I started the game,I was thrown into a world and given control of the main character Rango (a chameleon who happens to be the sheriff of the small town called Dirt), without any setup of what the story of the movie is about, who Rango is, or what is going in this crazy wild west town. The game could have benefited from a “previously on” type cut scene, giving some back story or explanation, but instead I was dropped right into the action and in the end I was pleasantly surprised by this charming game.
To be blunt, Rango: The Video Game is aimed at a younger audience, when I sat down to review this game, I played the first level on normal difficulty, I then promptly decided to re-start the game on hard and finished in one sitting, clocking in at around 6 hours. The story of the game is told via flashbacks, with each flashback comprising of 1 of the games 9 levels. the first two thirds of the game are set in in and around the town of Dirt and take place in what you would expect from a southwestern setting, canyons, mine shafts, you know the drill. The back third of Rango, really throws the gamer for a loop as you have to deal with a zombie uprising, navigating an 8 bit world with pixelated enemies and a finale that is such a twist and so good that I will not spoil it here, although I will say Lando Calrissian would be pleased.
Game play is standard for a third person action platformer,you spend most of your time shooting and punching your rodent enemies, searching for hidden fishbowls and mining spots, collecting Sheriff stars (the currency in the game), solving platform puzzles, and lightly upgrading Rango’s abilities. The game does break from the norm when it tasks you to do some side scrolling platforming, riding on the back of Road Runners and Desert Bats during on rails shooter sequences, zombie golfing, manually guiding golden bullets, and rail grinding. One of the best things about the game play, is that it never forces you to do any one thing for too long, this helps to make the game play flow and keep your interest .
The visuals in the game are top notch and some of the assests from the film were shared by Industrial Light and Magic for development, this really shows during the games cutscenes. The levels are all bright and eye catching, and the final third of the game is visually stunning in HD. The voice work is well done as is most of the games audio. but I learned something about myself after the second level of the game, I really don’t like mariachi music, and unless you turn down the music volume like i did, there is no escaping it.
Rango may be aimed at a younger audience, but this is a game that can be enjoyed by kids and parents alike. I actually found myself thinking back to the early days of 3-D platformers while I was playing. When it didn’t matter why you were collecting stars, or hopping around platforms, you just were and it was fun. Rango is that type of game, and I actually enjoyed the game enough that I want to see the film. You can check out Alex Navarro’s review of Rango: The Movie over at Screened.com. For the length and difficulty, the game may seem a tad bit overpriced at $49.99, but it’s a solid game and worthy of 4 out of 5 stars.