So what comes just from the cover? Coraline is a small girl, perhaps 8-10 years old, rendered in 3D, with a doll like arty style, associations goes to Tim Burton, not bad.
Considers to play this game with my 6 year old son and decides to do so, I can use his reactions to monitor the skill level of the game, the story, and perhaps get a better understanding of the target groups experience with the game. I do hope its not to scarry for him.
Starting the game,
Coraline (not Caroline) lives in a new house with her parents, who does not have the time for her. The game has a nice rough 3d arty style, and uses fixed cameras in every room following Coraline, just like in the original “Alone in the Dark” game.
The game starts really strange, you walk around and get small task of you busy parents,with small very typical wii games here, but you have as a player no reason to do this, there is no urgensy, nothing to solve. The mini-games are very diverse and this is a good thing, but being diverse also means that some of them are much harder than others. The game solve this very nice with the ability to “buy a ticket” to get over some mini game, the currency for this tickets are “buttons”. You collect buttons by solving other mini-games, and interactions.
This is a very nice solution, I had some trouble completing some mini-games that uses the guitar hero gameplay, to rows of button instructions are too much for me, but first time, I played my way though, and the second time around I got my girlfriend to play the nunchuk.
The Other world
*spoiler from here*
The sense of suspense started on the second playround we had, this time Coraline fell asleep, and she experienced ”the other world” though a passage in the living room. In this world her parents have time for her, and act really nice… but they have buttons for eyes, a little scary.
But now the game have meaning, what is this, and why do they have this eyes? are they evil? in some minigames you get hunted by rats and if you die, you see Coralines “Other mother” hugging Coraline both with buttons eyes, and the text goes, “now you can never leave” This is scary, and we are left with no clue why button eyed “other” mother switches from nice, with plenty of time, to pure evil. (my son gets angry with this, and I have to play the rest of the game without him)
Sometime later Coraline gets a presents from the “Other” parents, buttons eyes and a needle, this is not good. The Other Mother are now pure evil, and are hunting Coraline.
As a story the Coraline game seems odd, you get a friend first time you go to the “Other” world, and this friend also exist in the real world, living in the barn, but no one questions this, or him.
Then something bad happens, both in the story and with the gameplay, after some ok hunting and running scenes, you have to escape Carolines Other father, driving a mantis lawnmover of some sorts. but the games uses “QTE” Quick Time Events, like the ones in Heavy Rain, and I really HATE QTE, its the kind of games where a controller combo appears on the screen and you must hurry to hit that combo, as fast as possible. “the game is playing you”, as someone described it.
Normally this would have been where I quit the game, but doing this test, I did complete it in about 20 try’s. This minigame was not skipable, hence it was a key moment on the story. And after completion, again something happens, that doesn’t make sence. The other Father falling into a Lake of some sorts, throws an black Eye of some sorts, (why? didn’t he want you kill you?) and somehow, you know you need 3 (and why 3?) and where they are…
.. 2 month passes in RL
How come? It was going fine! Well, struggling to get finished with the game I did encounter some hurtles.
Somewhere in the game I did found myself enjoying atmosphere. Not that any of the mini games was really intriguing, or fun enough to be played for a longer time. But the pace of the games storyline and the shortness of the mini games did keep me entertained. The occasional QTE game play could be skipped.
But then, after finishing the mancipede game with only a short number of mini games left something really bad happened:
Before I tell you what that is, I have to explain the “save” problem in the game. When you exit the game the do you want to save progress screen has a display bug, that makes it impossible to know if you save the game or not. (se picture)
So to besure not to have to play the mantis part again, I desided to play the rest of the game in one take. After some fine minigames, one of them requiring you to shoot again, a feature of the game that i thourght was only in one minigame, this had me look the solution op on the internet, i had to have a break, leaving the wii on.
Then it froze..
And the savegame was corrupt..
And I had to replay all of the game from the start..
Which on the other hand was somewhat easier this time, knowing that you could use the “shoot” feature thorughout almost all of the game.
The game ends with the question : “did you like the game?” I only got one button for my answer…
Now at last to see the movie