We try a lot of different games on Family Gamer TV, and we try them out on lots of different families. This week we teamed up with Disney to bring Brave: The Video Game to one of our new gaming families. At the start of filming it looked like it would just be the kids playing the game, but by the end everyone was queuing up to play.
Our test Mom went from not really playing games to enthusing about a childhood spent growing up with Jet Set Willy and Manic Miner — as you can see in the episode I’m more than a little surprised and impressed.
Brave: The Video Game is available on Wii, PS3 and 360 and each version offers different motion controls. Although these aren’t utilized in the main game on the Xbox 360, the Archery mode was good at drawing in different family members to play the game. From there is was easier to graduate to the main game.
The central mode follows quite closely to the movie’s storyline. This meant that for our test family, who hadn’t seen the movie previously, there were a few spoilers involved. That said, the kids already seemed to know the rough outline of the plot from their recent visit to Disneyland. They have since watched the film and didn’t seem to mind having played some of the scenes already in the game.
The game is a combination of platforming and puzzles not a million miles away from Skylanders games (although without the collectable figures). Similarly the screen doesn’t split in two to accommodate the second player. But unlike Skylanders where one player will hold back the other because you are forced to stay on the same screen, you can drop off the back of the viewing area if need be and then “warp” back to the action by pressing a button. Although this meant the second player felt like a lesser character it actually worked very well for families where players were different ages and abilities.
More able players can take charge of Merida, the main character of the film, and ensure that their party makes good progress. The younger or less able player can then jump in as a second Whisp character. Both players have full access to the different swords and arrows unlocked in the game.
At particular moments in the game you encounter a trio of young bears. This signals a moment of more focused puzzle game play. Players have to switch between the different bears to pull levels, trigger switches and progress through the waiting exit.
Although my kids are a little too young for the game’s rating, they enjoyed joining me to solve these puzzle elements. In fact there wasn’t a great deal in the game to make it more mature than the film. As you can see in the video, our Family Gamer TV family appreciated the fact that any violence was in context of the Scottish setting and the flow of the story.
As we progressed through the game there was a very pleasing rhythm to the play. Although there isn’t anything particularly new here in game play terms, its execution and the usual Disney finesse kept us playing for longer than we have on other similar games.
Difficulty wise things were solid as well. The game progresses at a steady pace and, depending on the level selected, offers a challenge that avoids the usual spikes in difficulty other games sometimes fall fowl of.
Some players may find the lack of integrated Kinect controls a negative — this is a “Better with Kinect” rather than “Kinect Required” title. That said, it does mean that if you don’t want to use the Kinect controller, or haven’t invested in one yet, you can choose to play the game using just the traditional twin stick approach.
Brave: The Video Game may not shout its ware from the rooftops, but under this slightly unassuming exterior as a perfect game for families. Well balanced, two player and with a story and graphical style that draws you in to the world and myth of the movie.
Brave: The Video Game is available from Amazon.