Why would a male in his early 30’s be interested in a video game based off of the recent children’s Disney film ‘Frozen’? Well, cast your mind back to the days of the Nintendo Entertainment System. Do you remember Disney’s Duck Tales? How about Chip ‘n’ Dales Rescue Rangers? How about a little later on, in the days of the Sega Mega Drive? Who remembers Mickey Mouse’s Castle of Illusion, or better still Aladdin?
I have many fond memories of Disney games. There was a time when stamping Disney on a game was a certified guarantee that you weren’t wasting your money (Fantasia not withstanding). So when the opportunity came around for me to try out ‘Disney’s Frozen (Olaf’s Quest)’ on the Nintendo 3DS I was naturally very curious. I did get the opportunity to watch the movie with my wife a few months ago and although I wouldn’t consider it to be my cup of tea I can appreciate why it is as popular as it is. I’m also familiar with the scenes in the film which are considered to be fan favourites, something I was very conscious of while reviewing this game.
In this game you play as Olaf, the living snowman that was built by ice queen, Princesses Elsa. Through a sequence of images the plot of the game is revealed. Olaf has a fascination with all things related to summer since he’s never experienced hot weather and as such has a fondness for flowers. He wishes to collect as many as he can and give them to Princess Anna (sister of Elsa).
What’s disappointing with this plot is that the story of Frozen is far more interesting and complex than this side story which has been thrown together for this game. The film stars two princesses, one of whom has amazing magical powers and the other has undeniable courage and a sense of adventure. The snowman was pretty much just there for comic relief and plays a relatively small role in the film. The fact that to my recollection only one of the princesses appears in the game at all (in still image cut scenes alone) is a devastatingly missed opportunity. This is a theme that runs throughout this game from beginning to end.
When you begin the game you are taken to a level select which boasts an impressive 60 levels, the only one accessible being stage 1. However, once you begin you quickly realise why the game has so many levels. The game is a slow, tedious platformer which I’m guessing has been aimed at children between the ages of 3 and 5. The majority of these level can be beaten with next to no effort within 30 seconds each.
The first few levels can be beaten in under 10 seconds and if you want to 100% the collectables each level takes no more than a couple of minutes. Now I realise that I’m not this games target audience, however do bear in mind that I achieved a 100% complete saved file in approximately an hour, maybe a little over. Make no mistake, this isn’t a game that’s suitable for all the family. This game has been made exclusively for young audiences and although I’m no expert on children’s entertainment I can’t imagine my five year old self getting much satisfaction from this title.
Olaf controls tremendously slowly. His jump appears to have a slight delay to it similar to Simon Belmont’s whip in Castlevania. He can jump, double jump, glide, use his head as a projectile to collect out of reach items (think DecapAttack), and butt bash (think New Super Mario). The controls themselves have been kept relatively simple, sticking to the use of only two face buttons and the D-pad.
The 60 levels are split into 6 zones of 10 acts each, act 10 always being a scrolling stage. The first zone takes place in the snowy mountains and ends with a chase by a moose. The second takes place in a sunny setting reminiscent of Olaf’s fantasy of what summer is like, ending in a scrolling sequence on a sailing boat. The third takes place in a snowy village and ends with a chase by an abominable snowman. As far as original themes go that is it as zone’s four, five and six simply repeat the themes of zone’s one, two and three.
The platforming is simple with some stages not even containing any hazards. Hazards themselves are not particularly threatening in this title as the worst thing that will happen if you get hurt is that Olaf will drop some of the items he’s collected, with ample time to pick them all up again. If you’re not carrying any items it makes no difference as you simply take a small knock and then continue. There’s no health or lives. Occasionally the level design shows a glimmer of potential with some interesting interactive elements such as slippery hills you can use to roll down and turn into a spinning wrecking ball, trolls you can bounce on and use as springs, cyclones which can be used for transport, etc. Unfortunately with the levels being so short these amount to very little and don’t do enough to keep the game fresh or interesting.
The graphics aren’t nearly as enchanting as the movie, which I guess goes without saying given the hardware limitations of the 3DS, but even so it still doesn’t look particularly nice. Although you can use the 3D mode while playing I wouldn’t recommend it as I personally thought all the dead trees and scenery in the background made the game look terrible. Although I thought the sound had some potential at first the music becomes annoyingly repetitive extremely quickly and Olaf himself has no more than two of three lines of dialog, the most annoying being the line he says at the end of every level claiming it’s the best day of his life. I heard this 60 times in about an hour and it was incredibly irritating.
This game only has the one game mode and like I say I did 100% it on my first attempt, but for younger players who missed any collectables on their first trek through they can always revisit any stage to try and clean up. This is the closest thing this game has to offer to replay ability.
In conclusion I can’t recommend this game under any circumstance. Even if you’re a child or brand new to video games there are countless more interesting games to choose from than this one, and if you’re a fan of Frozen you’ll probably be doubly disappointed since this game only feature Olaf as a playable character and has hardly any relevance to the Frozen story.
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