Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures: Fright of the Bumblebees
New from episodic content specialists Telltale Games, comes the first of a four part series of point and clickers based on the adventures of Nick Park’s comedy creation, Wallace and Gromit.
In this first episode, Wallace decides to go into the honey producing business to keep his creditors away from the door, but as is usual in their adventures, the technology goes all wrong, and before we know it, the village is overcome with the giant bumblebees of the title. Though you get to be both main characters, it is essentially as Gromit that you play through the game, solving the puzzles, and eventually saving your well meaning but completely inept master.
The game’s creators have managed well to emulate the character and atmosphere of the animated series of films, and while you initially miss the familiar voice of Peter Sallis as Wallace, you quickly get used to it as you get involved in the plot of the game.
The only detraction to game immersion is the transition of scene loading times, which are just marginally long enough to become a slight annoyance, and the movement controls on your keyboard which required at times a bit of fiddling around to manoeuvre your view so that you could actually see what you were wanting to look at or interact with.
The fun from any point and clicker like this comes down to the quality of the humour and the puzzles. The jokes should be funny, and the puzzles should be logical, giving a real sense of achievement when you solve one.
Sadly the game relies too heavily on the comedy accents provided by the cast, and the overuse of Gromit stopping to look at you directly with a fed up expression whenever his master does anything silly. Fans of the films will likely be well entertained though, and perhaps the game is targeted at a younger audience who will be able to laugh out loud at comedy bees and demented old army majors, but then the puzzles are in no way suitable for newcomers to the genre.
Whilst some of the puzzles were logical and fun to work out, there’s just a few too many that could have you clicking on lots of different items and then clicking on other items in the forlorn hope that something might eventually happen to help you.
Without providing too much of a spoiler here, there is a situation in the middle of the game where you have to believe that giving giant bees outside a shop in the village square a bit of a shock soaking will result in them flying to another shop and hang around to be conveniently caught up by a very unlikely a trap. Especially when you consider that those same bees will get angry and chase you if you get too close, but seemingly don’t mind you soaking them with water!
Overall, the game is enjoyable to play, it just could have been better, and to be fair, Telltale do have a good online forum community where you can always get a clue or hint if you do get stuck.
The game is short, and would take a fraction of the completion time of some of it’s larger competitors if it had more logical puzzles, however, the price being asked is $34.95, which will get you all four episodes, as they become available on a monthly basis to you. At current exchange rates, this works out at roughly £6.00 per episode, which is good overall value if you enjoy these types of games.