The second chapter in the new Wallace & Gromit Grand Adventures series, “The Last Resort,” comes out today, May 5, from TellTaleGames.
I was lucky enough to play with a review version of “The Last Resort,” and it was a lot of fun. It follows a similar game-playing format as other adventure games. You walk around the game’s world, interact with things and solve puzzles. I got to explore almost the entire house at 62 West Wallaby Street and the front yard, and I was even able to travel into town and interact with the shopkeepers and townsfolk.
I have been a Wallace & Gromit fan since the early 1990s when the three Amazing Adventures shows came out. I was looking forward to reviewing this game, to see what similarities it had to the shows. The most obvious difference is that it is a computer generated world. This is most obvious in the characters, as they have less detail than the backgrounds and seem of lower resolution. Other than that, though, the details and features in the game are quite good and incredibly faithful to the original clay animation.
When unrelenting rain ruins their holiday plans, Wallace & Gromit bring the beach to their basement and transform 62 West Wallaby into a makeshift resort. Keeping the customers satisfied is tricky business, especially when one of them is clocked on the head by an unknown assailant. Whodunnit? It’s up to Gromit to find out… with a little help from Wallace’s latest invention, the Deduct-o-matic! (TellTaleGames.com)
During actual game play, the first thing I noticed was that the mouse was a little sluggish. It was as if you are pulling the cursor around on a short string. This is easy to get used to, though, and isn’t distracting after the first minute or so. Also, the game runs a bit slow between sections, but perhaps it is only a problem with the review version.
The game starts with a short tutorial to help new users learn how to interact with the game. This was very helpful because the game doesn’t operate like most adventure games I have seen. Rather than a strict point and click interface, these Wallace & Gromit games use point and click, arrow keys plus other keys to play the game. In the tutorial, you learn how to move characters around, pick things up, solve problems and use hints. After the tutorial (which you can skip if you already know what you are doing), you launch the game.
One very helpful feature of this game is the availability of different hint levels. You can choose to have hints given Never, Rarely, Sometimes or Often. This is helpful to customize the game depending on how old (or experienced) the person is playing it. In a few spots, though, even with hints on Often, it took me a while to figure out what to do. But if you listen to what Wallace is telling you, you can eventually determine what to do next.
I find that the game is best played by a grown up and a kid together, as a team effort. Some parts of the game are very easy and slow, and other parts are difficult challenges that may require more critical thinking to solve. In between sections of the game, there are videos that are fun to watch. It helps break up the constant problem solving, and helps move the story along. These videos play automatically, once you have solved certain challenges in the game, even if you aren’t done exploring.
Each section of the game has puzzles to figure out or requirements to fulfil before you can move on to the next section. Sometimes it is clear what your goal is, other times you have to explore a bit to figure out what to do.
At any time during the game, if you need to pause video or to bring up the menu, press Esc. The shift keys bring up your inventory list, arrow keys move you around and mouse clicking will allow you to interact with people or objects.
The fact that the game is pretty sequential and has one challenge section after another might be helpful for kids, since they can focus on one or two things at one time, instead of a larger game goal. The problem with this, though, is that if you get stuck in one spot and can’t figure out what to do next or how to solve the current problem, there is no way to work on another problem instead.
One cute aspect of the game comes up when you are mousing over things with which to interact. The game doesn’t always say the usual things like Inspect, Talk To or Open; there is also Consider, Appreciate, Crave and other words with more than the usual amount of meaning.
The game is made for both PC and Xbox platforms. On the PC, the first chapter, “Fright of the Bumblebees,” has been available for a while, and now “The Last Resort” is also available. Download them at TellTaleGames.com. The other two chapters, “Muzzled!” and “The Bogey Man,” will be available in June and July. The price is $34.95 for all four games, delivered monthly. Your purchase also includes a Collector’s Disc at the end of the season, for just the price of shipping.
Wired Can you go wrong with Wallace & Gromit? A fun adventure in the world of West Wallaby Street!
Tired Can be too slow for grown-ups, or too challenging for kids.