Game Review

Wreck-It Ralph Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Martin Watts

They went and wrecked it

When it comes to video games, film tie-ins have had something of a bumpy history. While GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64 proved that a licence can flourish in the right hands, it’s more often than not a rare exception.

However, when a game is based on a movie which itself is based on video games, it’s fair to assume that the end result might be just be something that’s worth our time. After all, the developers already have an idea to work with and all they need to do is cleverly work their own creativity in around this.

Unfortunately, this isn't the case with Wreck-It Ralph. Despite the fact that its movie counterpart draws its inspiration from video game classics such as Donkey Kong, the game is surprisingly lacking when it comes to gameplay, level design and practically every other aspect.

That’s not to say that there isn't some thought put in; in some ways Wreck-It Ralph does feel like a 2D platforming game from the early 90s, mainly due to its array of moving platforms, dangerous obstacles and switches. Yet, while it may look like a great retro romp on the surface, the truth is that it’s utterly lacking when it comes to the gameplay. There are so many ideas that could have been taken from the vibrant, magical world that Disney created for the film and expanded upon, but this sadly isn't the case here. Like many licensed games, Wreck-It Ralph is little more than a rinse and repeat effort, and one that is woefully lacking in the fun department, too.

Although it isn't really made clear, this game is set after the events of the movie, and the introduction does a pretty good job of revealing some pretty big spoilers. Ralph is enjoying life and the new found respect his new video game buddies have for him. However, this is short-lived as Ralph, in all his clumsiness, accidentally releases an entire horde of evil Cy-Bugs.

With the nasty creatures invading each and every video game, it’s up to Ralph and Fix-It Felix Jr. to team up and save the virtual video game world yet again. The player must regularly switch between Ralph and Felix and use their unique abilities in order to progress through the game.

This sounds like a great idea on paper, but the execution is quite poor. That’s because the whole thing feels like a gimmick, as their abilities are mostly trivial. For example, only Ralph can walk up ladders, while Felix is the only one who can repair certain objects. This setup could have worked really well if it weren't for the fact that it’s always blatantly obvious what you need you to do. The game even provides you with hints which explicitly inform you when to change character and which buttons to press. There’s a never a sense of challenge or urgency where you need to think and act quickly.

To make matters worse, there’s very little variety when it comes to the gameplay. Despite being spread across various game environments from the film such as Hero’s Duty and Sugar Rush, the only thing that really changes is the visuals. Assets are simply repainted and reused in different levels. For example, a laser barricade that blocked your way in Hero’s Duty is remodelled into a golden gate in Sugar Rush, and works in exactly the same way. Nothing has been done to make each of the game’s areas feel like its own world and the simplistic puzzles are duplicated throughout.

As a result, Wreck-It Ralph becomes tedious very quickly. It truly is a shame that the developers didn't approach this with more creativity, especially considering the fact that the game is not based directly on the film. It’s a fairly short title and although there’s an enhanced mode you can experience upon completing it, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll actually want to go back through it all again.

Wreck-It Ralph also disappoints when it comes to its overall presentation. Character models look crude, and the environments look remarkably bland for a Disney game. Naturally, the 3D effect adds some depth, but it’s not used in any meaningful way beyond that. It would have been great to see Ralph charging through enemies, only to them see them fly towards the screen.

The game’s soundtrack is surprisingly authentic, sounding very much like something you’d hear in a NES game. Nevertheless, it isn’t very good; there were game soundtracks made more than 20 years ago which are infinitely more catchy.


Wreck-It Ralph could have been so much more. Disney clearly spent a lot of time injecting the film’s world with strong gaming influences and tons of variety, and it’s baffling that the developers didn't build upon this. Instead, it feels like nothing more a half-hearted attempt to cash-in. It looks and feels like a retro game in some ways, but it’s simply far too shallow and devoid of fun to draw you in. As a result, you should probably save your quarters for a more worthwhile effort on 3DS.

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User Comments (35)



Retronaut said:

I would pay a few bucks to download the Wreck-It-Ralph arcade game seen in the movie. Why couldn't they just do that?



Auracle said:

@3Dash and @Jumpy
I imagine the issue can be best explained with a metaphor. An English phrase (representing video games), can be translated into Japanese (representing a movie) and come out quite well (it's not 100%, mind you). Try to convert it back to English, and it just becomes a garbled mess.



shinokami said:

@neumaus I played it and it sucks. They actually made an arcade version. I got to play it and I gotta say it's actually a lot of fun



duffmman said:

"While GoldenEye 007 for Nintendo 64 proved that a licence can flourish in the right hands, it’s more often than not a RARE exception."

Pun intended? Even if it wasn't, its damn perfect, love it.



Xilef said:

The Fix-it Felix Jr. game on iOS is actually really fun. Probably much bether than this. You guys should check it out.



Sean_Aaron said:

It seemed pretty obvious to me to create a mini-game collection recreating the original games seen in the film along with a couple of emulated titles (Q*Bert, Tapper, Street Fighter II and Sonic Championship Edition being the most obvious). It would have been pretty much the best tie-in game ever!



SheldonRandoms said:

If they make Wreck-It Ralph 2 (Or better yet, Super Wreck-It Ralph) then they better not make it like this, I wanted to get this after the movie, but alas, Activision had to Wreck it.



sinalefa said:

It is sad to see that Disney Interactive got good reviews for the Toy Story 3 game and they were not in charge for this one.



nomeacuerdo said:

I saw the movie, played the iOS game and thought that it would be a no-brainer to buy this game. Fortunatelly I looked for the review and saw a youtube walkthrough. I felt rage and disappointment with this game. How difficult was to pack Sugar rush, fix-it felix Jr. and Hero's duty on one cartridge? Even just Fix-it felix, dang.



Drawdler said:

Guys, please play the iOS game. It wrecks! cricket chirping
I've seen videos on YouTube and it doesn't look insufferable to play, but it also seems really plain and I've heard it's ridiculously short. I think I might buy it if it goes on drop-sale or I find a pre-owned copy, but as a massive sucker of the franchise, I think I'll keep this one in the Fungeon for now.



josephgee said:

i got this game thinking it would include pacman or sonic but no man this game SUCKED!

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