Publisher: THQ Wireless
Developer: THQ Wireless
N Amer - Summer 2007
Intl - Summer 2007
Most rats spend their lives eating garbage. Remy, an ambitious anti-rodent who dreams of becoming a great chef, has spent his life trying to do the opposite. He sees food as a work of art – a rare and cherished item that should be chosen wisely and savored with every bite.
At the same time, most garbage boys spend their lives disposing of trash. Linguini, a clumsy (but controllable) employee at a famous restaurant, is perfectly content picking up after his co-workers. Things change when, by a chance meeting that only Pixar and director/writer Brad Bird could envision, Remy discovers that he has the ability to manipulate Linguini’s actions.
Ratatouille’s full-of-laughs story was publicly unveiled on June 16 during one-time-only sneak previews held at select theaters across the country. The endearing characters, unexpected events and eye-popping visuals led to loud cheers upon the closing credits at one local showing – the kind of enthusiasm that is usually reserved for big-name sequels like Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings. But Pixar is no average studio, earning fans that will go see anything they produce because we know that we will enjoy everything they produce.
There are also those who will buy every game based on a Pixar movie because it’s safe to assume they’ll get something good. As with last year’s Cars, Ratatouille will be released for every game platform available. Console gamers can look forward to a 3D adventure that follows the events and locations of the film, hopefully in the way the Toy Story games did back in the 90s. The handheld editions should be similar, but there is one version that differs from the bunch: the mobile phone edition. Developed as a frantic top-down strategy game, Ratatouille mobile uses the movie’s premise to its advantage. The game begins as soon as Remy starts to direct Linguini’s appendages. For players, that means you’ll be in control of Linguini as he scrambles around a crowded kitchen.
There are three tasks tied to Ratatouille’s single-objective missions: (1) pick up the orders, (2) study the ingredients list, and (3) grab the necessary ingredients and throw them together. Orders are dropped off by the waiter, who stops by at specific, pre-determined intervals but is never actually seen in the game. Both the dropped-off orders and the orders-in-progress (the ones you’re snatching ingredients for) have individual timers that are used to gauge your performance. They can also be used as a strategic advantage – if your hands are pretty full, work on the orders-in-progress and leave the rest until just before their timers are up. That way the dropped-off orders will receive a new timer as soon as they’re processed.
Orders contain ingredients like meat, eggs, seafood, cheese, and dessert / ice cream cone, which are located in the fridge at the top right corner of the kitchen. The bottom right corner offers fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta, and an all-purpose bottle that seems to work as several different ingredients. The bottom middle contains the toaster needed to prepare bread, while the kitchen’s actual middle is where the two cutting boards (needed to slice fruits and vegetables) are located. Just left of the fridge is the stove – where you’ll cook eggs, meat, pasta, and seafood, none of which can be served raw.
All that you do in this game – every task and tactic previously described – is handled with your mobile phone’s four arrow keys and the central “OK / select” button. To grab, cook, slice, and combine ingredients, simply push one of the arrow keys toward the counter, fridge, stove, or veggie bin, which will then be highlighted. Push the OK key and Linguini will run over to complete the task. He can carry two items at a time, one for each hand (push the left arrow key for his left hand, and the right arrow key for the other).
The non-threatening, anyone-can-do-it gameplay is perfect for a mobile phone – and proves to pack more of an entertaining punch than you’d expect. Remember how strangely fun Nintendo’s Game & Watch Gallery titles were on the Game Boy Color? Or how addictive the three-second mini-games were in Wario Ware? Ratatouille does the same thing but on a mobile phone.
If it were any more varied, the game would be begging for a Game Boy Advance or Nintendo DS iteration. But what you’ve read is what you get. One kitchen, one set of recipes, and less than 30 minutes worth of challenges. There are as many as three co-workers to avoid (they can’t see Remy or they’ll freak), but the game aids you there by announcing, “We can’t go there now, they will see me,” every time you try to move to a guarded location.
As a mobile game with a mobile game price, you couldn’t have expected much more. But while the thought of playing a game on my cell phone usually makes me cringe, Ratatouille is one I want to go back to. Anyone who can embrace the simplistic and appreciate the inspired is likely to feel the same way.
Review Scoring Details for Ratatouille
Ratatouille’s four-key setup makes it easy to play one-handed without failure. The controls are reliable and the gameplay is very enjoyable, but is also very short and without much variety. Regardless, you can’t go wrong with this one. It makes time-killing a part of the day you may actually look forward to.
Sharp cartoon images set above the movie’s soon-to-be-famous kitchen scenes. Ratatouille is impressively quick for a mobile phone game, jumping across table, toaster, fridge, and veggie selections faster than what you get from most Game Boy Advance titles.
One quirky theme plays repeatedly on the menu screen. Brief blips and other sounds are triggered during the game.
Given Ratatouille’s target audience (kids, adults, and everyone in between), this mobile adaptation was not expected to offer the most potent challenge. And it doesn’t.
Using the film’s driving point as its foundation for inspiration, Ratatouille is a game of speed and strategy.
Designed as a fast-paced strategy game that anyone can play, Ratatouille challenges players to grab orders, snatch ingredients, and prepare requested delicacies without the knowledge of your confused and/or arrogant co-workers. It’s much too short to be considered a full-fledged game, but as a mobile phone quickie, Ratatouille is tons of fun.
Using the film’s driving point as its foundation for inspiration, Ratatouille is tons of fun
Reviewer: Louis Bedigian
Review Date: 06/18/2007