Royally good fun
I may spend most of my time reviewing serious grown-up games, but like a lot of twentysomethings I grew up with classic Disney films like Jungle Book, Aladdin, Lady and the Tramp and The Lion King – so for me, being invited to an advanced screening of Disney's The Princess & The Frog brought back a lot of fond, happy childhood memories.
More importantly, as a game reviewer it also gave me a much better understanding of how Disney have approached The Princess and the Frog videogame. There are LOADS of minigame compilations on the Wii, and to be honest, a lot of them are very similar, and many of them are pretty naff. But for kids, this one will be brilliant – because it captures the magic of the film AND gives kids a fun journey they can enjoy with their friends!
Captures the magic of the film AND gives kids a fun journey they can enjoy with their friends!
A story is something you won't see in the majority of Wii minigame compilations, but with The Princess and the Frog game Disney have done something really quite special: they've made sure the game features all of the film's memorable faces, AND included a plot that ties all of the fun Wii Remote waggling together.
Without wanting to give too much away, The Princess and the Frog film stars Tiana, a poor waitress who dreams of one day turning the old Sugar Mill in New Orleans into a fancy restaurant, just like her Daddy always wanted. In The Princess and the Frog for Wii, players help Tianna turn it into the venue of her dreams by playing games to earn Mardi Gras beads, with which they can buy upgrades for the run-down old building.
Sugar coated goodness
They do this by walking around the Sugar Mill and talking to the key characters from the film. Which transports you back to a different part of the film's story depending on who you talk to, where there are a good handful of games to be enjoyed. Talk to chef Buford, for instance, and you'll find yourself back in Duke's Café from the early art of the film, where players will be flicking the Remote to throw cakes, make gumbo, play dress-up, or annoy lazy old Buford by playing instruments!
Once you've completed a chapter it's back to the old mill with all of the beads you've won and cool things you've unlocked – like extra dresses for Tiana, new furniture for the restaurant, and even more songs to play in the background. It's a simple structure then, but one that gives a great sense of achievement as you play games and gradually see the old mill take on a new lease of life.
Four Wii Remotes and a copy of The Princess and the Frog and you've got the ultimate sleepover game!
The best bit though is that all of this can be enjoyed with three other friends, and without everyone needing an extra Nunchuk. Just four Wii Remotes and a copy of The Princess and the Frog and you've got the ultimate sleepover game for any group of little girls!
It's a lovely looking game too, which really captures the New Orleans jazzy vibe and the warmth and magic of Disney. From the bright colours to the wide-eyed characters and the trumpet-packed soundtrack, it's easily one of the most well-produced children's titles we've seen in a very long time.
Smiling with glee
The games themselves can be a little bit repetitive, perhaps, but the controls are very accessible and there's enough diversity to keep younger gamers entertained for a good few hours at a time. Best of all, though, is that The Princess and the Frog on Wii does the most important thing of all for a film-based videogame – it feels like an extension of the film that offers everything its target audience could want. There's even cooking and karaoke side games to play away from the main story too!
As a film, the Princess and the Frog is typical Disney – and I'm pleased to say the game does a great job of capturing that on Nintendo's home console. Any little girl unwrapping this on her Birthday will be beaming the same giddy smile as I was when I left the cinema.
- Follows the story of the film and goes beyond!
- Loads of fun four-player minigames for up to four players to enjoy!.
- Tons of stuff to unlock as you play!
- Some of the games can get a bit repetitive.
- Only player one can customise their character.
- Better for kids than grown-ups.