Wreck it Ralph – the film, is a recent (in the UK at least) release that has plenty of references to classic video games. The main characters themselves are clearly a nod to Nintendo’s finest – Mario and Donkey Kong. Ralph is a big guy who enjoys destroying things – a human Donkey Kong. Fix-it Felix is Mario like, with super high jumps, a magic hammer, and the ability to fix things. Like many modern films, Disney have asked developers to create a series of games based on the films. I’ve chosen the 3DS version to review.
The game itself isn’t really based on the film, it’s more of a side story. This is a nice change from other licensed games which try to imitate the story line of the film and often end up feeling rather cheesy. Ralph accidentally releases a swarm of Cybugs (Metal bug-like creatures) and it’s up to Ralph and Felix to clear up the mess he’s made. This is all introduced in a cinematic at the start of the game which is voiced by the same people as the film and features the same quality of animation. It’s a shame that the story to introduce each world isn’t anywhere near the same quality. It just consists of very low quality static images of Ralph and Felix with a voice over.
Wreck it Ralph is a fairly basic platform game. For each level (except the boss levels) your job is to get to the end of the levels, collecting coins and destroying any Cybugs that get in the way. An interesting feature is the way you can swap between Ralph and Felix using the touchscreen or shoulder buttons. You’ll be doing this quite often; there’s signs up around the level which show a picture of Ralph or Felix to hint how to progress through the upcoming part of the level. Ralph enjoys wrecking things (heh) so he usually gets the task of smashing through boxes or killing enemies. Felix is far more agile, he can double jump and wall jump, and also fix various things around the level. Some of them activate moving platforms, others make more coins appear on a timer – another nod to the Mario games.
There really isn’t much to do in the levels in Wreck it Ralph, the main objective is to get to the end of the level. Other than that, you can collect coins and there are also ‘Hero Medals’ and easter eggs, but I’ve never had any difficulty finding these. If they’re meant to be hidden, they aren’t hidden very well. The levels are almost completely linear too, there are hardly any hidden passages and no different routes to take, which is a shame. If they’d expanded on the levels and given different routes it would be a far more fun experience. The boss levels are a welcome change, but they’re only unlocked when you’ve completed all of the levels in the game. The bosses don’t prove much of an extra challenge, they took me about 10 minutes to complete, and the difficulty level is once again pretty easy.
The graphics in Wreck it Ralph don’t stand out much. Every world has one theme which is continued throughout – there’s hardly any difference between each level. The themes aren’t particularly inspired either, from a building site to a generic alien landscape. The level made entirely of sweet things is quite fun though. Fortunately Ralph and Felix are animated quite nicely, with incidental animations if you keep them waiting for too long. The death animations are amusing too, clearly a tribute to the Nintendo characters that they imitate. It does bug me that Ralph’s climbing animation doesn’t stop when he gets to the end of a ladder though. The sound and music are OK – nothing really special. The retro sound effects are a nice touch, but get quite annoying in the menus. The music is OK too, it’s easy to listen to, but as there is only one music track per world (3 tracks in total) it gets quite repetitive.
When playing this game, I’ve never found it much fun. The levels are repetitive and just seem to follow the same pattern of breaking a few boxes, fixing something to make some platforms move and killing enemies. It would have been nice to see more done with the puzzle elements of the game, I found these to be more fun than the constant platform hopping. The puzzles that are included are extremely simple and it doesn’t take much thought to solve them, but it’s nice that they are included. Wreck it Ralph is an extremely easy game. If you’ve ever played a Mario game (or any platform game), you’ll have absolutely no problem completing this game. There are no difficulty settings to be found in the game, and the only incentive to go back through the levels again is to collect the easter eggs. The easter eggs show you one piece of concept art per level and that seems to be it for rewards. There is also a ‘Game+’ mode that is unlocked when you have completed the game, but this only removes checkpoints, adds a timer and makes enemies harder.
One problem seems to be apparent throughout the whole game – the difficulty of character control. Felix is meant to be agile, like Mario. But I found him difficult to control, he seems to slip off of platforms quite easily; this really frustrated me in sections that required precise jumping to land on small platforms. His wall jump is equally unpredictable, he sometimes flat out refuses to jump off certain walls. Ralph is even harder to control, he often can’t climb up certain ledges for no apparent reason, and while his attacking animation is playing, no amount of button pressing will make him do anything else. This leaves him susceptible to enemy attack, so attacking the Cybugs is tedious and often frustrating as there seems to be no way to kill the bigger ones without getting hit. His charging attack also seems quite glitchy, just pushing Cybugs without dealing any damage to them. Also, I’ve never seemed to get Ralph’s charge up ‘Super Fist’ attack to hit a bug at all – it just goes straight through them!
Unfortunately, like many licensed games; Wreck it Ralph has been rushed. The ideas are all there, but the development team hasn’t been given enough time to execute them properly. The graphics and sound teams have done a pretty good job, the menus are pretty and so are Ralph and Felix, but it still feels like an unfinished game, and it probably is. There are 3 worlds – each with 4 levels and a boss. And it didn’t take me much over an hour and a half to complete the game. For £30 (the current retail price as of writing) – there is nowhere near enough game to justify the price. Add to that the more tedious than fun gameplay. There really aren’t many redeeming features of Wreck it Ralph that make it worth playing, I’d steer clear of this one.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.