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THQ has gotten its fair share of CGI movie to videogame turnovers for children as of late with Kung Fu Panda 2 and RIO. It seems Dreamworks has trusted them with the recent Puss In Boots franchise rights in making a story that is true to the movie. Does it live up to the tale of Puss In Boots or does it fail to make the kitty purr.
The story of Puss In Boots coincides with the plot of the movie. You follow the journey of Puss, just as in the movie, in search of the beans from evil outlaws Jack & Jill with his friends Kitty Softpaws and Humpty Dumpty; whilst taking part in grand adventures, and amazing swordfights. This all sounds great until you actually realize the game is just an on rails adventure-game. You will jump and fight, but only at contextual events. The game itself is made with Kinect and Move support in mind, however it can be played with a controller but it just takes a while to get used to. During the fight sequences moving the right stick about in various motions will swing the sword, and when enemies attack you holding it in the direction the oncoming attack it’ll block. It can also be timed for a deflect attack, deflects will fill your ‘boots meter’ instantly, as will landing enough attacks. Raise your ‘boots meter’ enough and it will allow you to kick back enemies and fling them into walls, glowing pots (for collecting more coins or Golden Egg pieces), traps, and wanted posters (another collectable). Throughout the adventure you will have to collect nine wanted posters, and nine golden egg pieces scattered throughout the nine levels. The story unfolds in short little comic like cartoons. At the end of every level the coins you earned will be tallied along with points for an overall score which will grant you either a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal.
The diversity in the levels, along with the medals and traps to find, add replay value to an otherwise uneventful storyline. Keep in mind this is strictly aimed at children as this type of action and difficulty will be laughable when played by adults. The singleplayer story can be beaten in around three hours, but children will have a lengthier playtime. It does have some nice neat gameplay touches that raise a smile though, no matter what your age! During fights, once you build up enough meter for a scratch attack, you can press the triangle/Y button and push up and down on the sticks in a scratch like motion to attack an enemy; throughout the story Puss will also come across female cats that he will stop to serenade with his guitar, this then triggers a small mini-game that has you slam on the square/X button while moving the left stick left or right to play a song. This same mini-game can then be used during fight sequences to take out any enemies surrounding you (up to three), where puss whacks them with the guitar. There are other mini-games strewn throughout the story too, such as one where Puss takes the shape of inanimate objects to hide himself, done via quick-time events. Then there is the sneaking mechanic, which will have the player rabidly tiptoeing with the left and right sticks furiously up and down to simulate a fast kitty walk. At least some of the controls are quite resourceful and show some great ingenuity.
The game doesn’t just end when the story does, a challenge mode offers two player offline gameplay that allows players to switch off the controller, and play against each other in a variety of the mini-games featured in the main story. ‘Market Mayhem’ has players fighting waves of enemies for the highest score, and each enemy defeated adds four seconds to the sixty second timer. ‘Shape It Up’ is the sneaking shape shifting mini-game, whilst ‘Barrel Barrage’ has Puss dodging barrels under a time limit for the highest score while collecting coins. ‘Bandit Boot’ has players booting enemies into traps, each worth a different score, players progress is gauged in comparison to the target score in order to get to the next level. If you can’t find someone else to play with though these challenges can also be played solo.
Puss In Boots manages to make great use of the controller, and motion controls, but flounders on content. Four mini-games is acceptable, but they could have added more unlockables, and the length of the singleplayer should have been drawn out a little bit. It felt like the entire story just blazed right by. This makes for a great present if someone is a fan of the Shrek universe, and especially Puss In Boots himself. This is also a wonderful purchase for children, as they will find more use and hours out of it than I did. With an MSRP of $39.99 it is rather tempting, but when it comes to kids games it may not be the cat’s meow but it will get the job done.
Final Score: 3/5