Genre: Action/Adventure – Movie Based
Developer: Disney Interactive Studios
Available Platforms: Nintendo DS, Wii
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Website: www.Disney.com/TangledVideoGame | www.Dgamer.com
(Note: In the interest of full disclosure – I outsourced this review to my wife, Donna (MensaMom) who is a die-hard Disney fan and a Princess at heart. She even reviewed this using her “princess pink” DS. She normally writes about life on her own blog DonnaForbis.com but agreed to review Tangled for Platform Nation. Everything that follows is her review. Thanks love.)
The story is divided into ten chapters. In each chapter, you explore the area and collect sun drops. Some are plainly visible, while others are hidden in the background. Collecting sun drops is important because you can use them to bypass mini games. Sparkles reveal the locations of the sun drops, but you can only collect them while they are sparkling. Sparkles come and go, so sometime you have to wait for them to start sparkling again in order to collect that sun drop.
As you explore and interact with various characters, you discover the mini games. There are ten different mini games that recur throughout the game with increasing levels of difficulty the further you go. Some games only have a completion requirement, where you have to complete the task. Others have a minimum threshold of object to collect or patterns to copy. Some games have a time limit, and you can collect or copy until the time runs out, and try to beat your high score. Mini games must be won to progress through the game.
The Mini Games:
- Pascal’s Colors/Melody Match – When it’s your turn, copy the colors and sounds by tapping on the lower screen. The sequence increases by one color or tone each time it is presented. Once you reach the threshold, you can continue copying the sequence until you make a mistake, but the speed of sequence increases as each additional color or tone is added. Additionally, the minimum threshold for winning the game increases in later chapters.
- Animal Friends – To help Rapunzel make new friends, copy the shape and “talk” to the animals. You have to trace a shape or blow into the microphone to “talk” to the animals as you are becoming friends with them. Once you are friends, you can continue until you make a mistake, but the speed increases with each step. Again, the minimum threshold for winning the game increases as you go through the story.
- Hair Brush Fantastic – You have to brush leaves out of Rapunzel’s hair, and eliminate a minimum number of objects before you get to the end of her hair. You use the stylus to brush in the direction of the shapes until each object is gone.
- Puzzle Slide – Slide the pieces around until the image has been revealed. There are eight tiles in nine spaces, and you must rearrange the tiles until the picture is reassembled.
- Time to Paint – Choose a color and slide the stylus over the screen to reveal Rapunzel’s masterpiece. There are six paintbrushes to choose from, but not all pictures use all colors.
- Catch and Collect – Try to grab everything that moves by tapping something to catch it and dragging it to the correct spot and letting go. This game is presented in a variety of incarnations, from feeding flying insects to Pascal to collecting Rapunzel’s tears to heal Flynn’s eyes.
- Creation Time – Watch the top screen to see what you need to make, then assemble the pieces to match the picture, and copy the gesture to finish. This game has a time limit, with the success threshold increasing in later chapters in the game.
- Pickup – Help Rapunzel collect the objects without stepping on her hair. Using the control pad, you direct Rapunzel around the screens, collecting objects. As she walks, her hair trails out behind her, getting longer with each step.
- Magic Memory – Remember what you see and match the cards in pairs before you run out of guesses. This is a traditional memory card game, but the amount of time you have to look at the cards before they turn over and the number of wrong guesses you are allowed both get shorter in later chapters.
- Puzzle Repair – Put the pieces together in the right places to solve the puzzle. This is a basic jigsaw puzzle game with no time limit, but each puzzle represents a task than a NPC asks you to do, such as gluing a favorite cup back together.
I sat down to play this game without having seen Tangled (the movie). I did not know anything about the storyline of either the movie or the game, other than it was Disney’s take on the Rapunzel fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm. That being said, having knowledge of the fine points of the movie plot is not required in order to enjoy playing this game. The game leads you through the main plot points of the movie, and I got the impression that, if you have already seen the movie, there is enough detail in the game to give a good “refresher”. After having played the game, I am actually more inclined to go see the movie, as the storyline of the game was fun and adventuresome.
The exploration of the different environments is slightly challenging because of the sun drops. You can only collect a hidden sun drop when that area is sparkling, so there is a timing element involved. It is far more interesting than just “tap, tap, tap, oh, look, here’s a sun drop.” There is a lot of exposition in the dialog interaction with the NPCs, and much of that interaction acts as the introduction to the mini games. The variety of the mini games and the spacing of the repeat versions is enough that you don’t feel like you are playing the same game over and over again. Rather, when the next incarnation of a previously played game is presented, the game has been altered slightly so that there is a familiarity without feeling repetitive. Additionally, playing and winning the different mini games acts as a plot point for the game – helping a NPC get a lost kitten back, or altering a WANTED poster, so that the guards do not recognize Flynn as you are on your way to the festival.
The game play of the mini games is also presented in a way so that, if you don’t succeed during your first attempt, you are given positive reinforcement with, “Good Job!” and “Nice Try.” The challenges of the mini games must be overcome in order to proceed through the story, but if you have collected enough sun drops, you can use them to bypass the mini game. You don’t get a score for the leader boards, but the sun drop symbol appears in your score box.
There are a few things Disney could have done better. The DS version of this game is not designed to handle more than one player profile. Once you create (or log on to) your DGamer profile, no other player can play your copy of the game without first deleting your profile from the game. Additionally, within the sole player profile, there is only one game save slot, so families with more than one child can not share the game from child to child at the same time. Even with multiple cartridges, there is no provision for cooperative play over Wi-Fi with multiple DSs. Also, when speaking of game saving, there is no way to save a game in the middle of a chapter. The game automatically saves at the end of each chapter, but you cannot exit the game mid-chapter. If you have to stop playing, you must either leave the DS on, in standby mode, or lose all progress within the chapter so far.
Within the game play, if you happen to tap on the start location for a mini game that you have already played, there is no way to back out of the game. You must either play the game again or pay sun drops to bypass the game. I found this to be a bit frustrating when I was tapping on what I thought was a hidden sun drop location, only to be put back into a game I had just won a few minutes earlier.
The instruction book that comes with the game is cursory, at best. There is no information on actual game play, just some very minimal information regarding game controls and logging into the DGamer website from the DS. While DGamer.com seems like a great idea, during the time I was testing this title, I was unable to get to the DGamer.com site. I could log into DGamer on the DS, but to go out to the site on my laptop caused my browser to crash. I tried to visit the site using a variety of browsers, but the issue appeared to be with the Disney site itself, so the complete functionality of the interaction between website and DS was lost on me. I never was able to get to the site to access the additional Tangled online content.
- Nice variety within the game
- Easy to play, good representation of the story
- Limited appeal – girls more than boys
- No multi-player options
- Only one player profile/save slot
Final Score 6 out of 10