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Happy Feet Review

Developer: A2M Publisher: Midway Games
Release Date: November 19, 2006 Also On: GCN, PS2 and Xbox

Happy Feet, the animated motion picture starring Robin Williams, is now a video game of the same name. It’s one of Midway’s four launch titles for Nintendo’s new home console, the Wii. Three of the four are licensed children properties though, and the other, Rampage, is essentially a port of a $20 GCN game that is being asked for $30. If you are a parent looking for a safe game that your young child can play, Happy Feet is a nice pick. Just do not expect to get any enjoyment out of it yourself.

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Happy Feet takes full use of Nintendo’s new Wiimote. The first level has you flicking your wrist in the direction of arrows that scroll from the bottom to the top of the screen like Dance Dance Revolution. Some 1970s music like That’s the Way gets played while your penguin dances his little heart out on the screen. There is really no dancing involved for the person playing the game, but kids may do it for the sake of feeling more involved in the game.

The other parts of the game (you will have these dancing parts more than once) include swimming and racing. The swimming has you holding the Wiimote sideways as if you are playing a racing game like Excite Truck. All you have to do is avoid ice, be sure to breathe air and at times, collect things such as shrimp and heart pieces. Why? I don’t have a clue, and the developers don’t give much of a reason other than to have an excuse to add something to the otherwise dull and boring gameplay. Not that throwing in shrimp will fix that, unless it’s going in my stomach.

The racing parts of Happy Feet are about as pathetic as Kirby Air Ride, except the tracks in Air Ride are at least genuinely more interesting. All you can do in these races is move left and right, as well as jump into the air. The races will add speed boosts, ice and other obstacles along the way, but nothing that really makes things interesting. I actually put the controller down for an entire race just to see how I would fare and sure enough, I came within a foot or two of winning.

The graphics in Happy Feet are about as good as the gameplay. They lack any variety whatsoever, and the water would even look dated for an early generation GCN game. Even though Wii is underpowered compared to Xbox 360 and PS3, it is still a next-generation machine; I expect better than this. At least the sound isn’t too shabby. I have not seen the movie, but the voice actors are pretty decent and sound like they could be from the film.

If you have overly sensitive kids that don’t respond well to losing, Happy Feet is the perfect game for them. Why? Because they make it damn near impossible to lose. If you do lose, you should have a brain scan to make sure you have something in your skull. As simple as it is, my little 7 year old step brother had a blast playing this game. If you are above the age of 10 though, playing or watching someone play this game would amount to torture under the Geneva Conventions.

Graphics: 4
Sound: 7
Gameplay: 3
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 3
Final: 4
Written by Kyle Review Guide