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Even though I'm 19 and this game is aimed at children I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of this game, mainly because I'm an avid Disney fan.
There are two elements to the game, the story mode which takes you through scenes from the film and you play as various different characters. These levels are really fun and are the perfect length without being too long and repetitive or too short without a lot of detail. There are also some levels that extend on scenes from the film such as being able to play Bonnie's make believe stories. There are some parts of the game that even I struggled on though and although this keeps it challenging for older gamers it may be a bit frustrating at times for the younger gamers.
The second element to the game is the 'Toy box' mode which is basically an on-going free play mode with tons of tasks activated by talking to different characters. These include races, finding certain items and as you progress you unlock different sections such as RC's race track. I found that the tasks get a bit repetitive after a while but it is good fun in short bursts and as a break from the main game. As well as the tasks you have the option to customise the town how you want. The 'Toy Box' mode is probably best suited to the younger gamers as there is plenty to keep them occupied and if they get stuck they can move on to a different task.
I found the main game fairly easy and quick to complete and feel it could have benefited from a bit more content but then as it is aimed at children I guess they have made it simple for their benefit.
The price of the game had come down a lot when I bought it and I don't know if I would have paid full price.
My boys get so spoiled. They already had the Toy story 3 game for the Nintendo DS, so I inwardly groaned when I watched them unwrap this on Christmas day. Great. Another copy of the same game. The boys of course were really excited, and my 3 year old refers to the game Toy Story 3 new on Wii, to help differentiate it from the older game we own.
Well, I was expecting it being from another Nintendo console that the game content at least would be fairly similar to the DS version and the only difference would be my 5 year old would not be complaining about my 3 year old leaning on him so they could both see the small DS screen. But it became clear instantly that this is not the case. There is a lot more to this game than the DS version, and it has really entertained us and my children while it has been played with.
This game is a 2 player game, but for it to be 2 player you need to have 2 nunchucks to connect to your Wii-motes. I had to bite the bullet and buy an extra one as a lot of the games that we got for Christmas had this feature and they wanted to play together. The age recommendation here is that you should be 7 plus to play. I have found my 5 year old quite competent, my 3 year old can't get the hang of it at all, but we have had a fair few moments particularly later on in the game of 'I can't do it!!!' and we have had to help out by taking control or at least physically supporting my son to play. (I'll explain more later.)
What I'm saying, is younger children will like it as they like the characters involved, but they might find it really tricky to get the Wii to resond in a suitable way. We have found ourselves that something that looks fairly easy on the screen while my son was playing has actually been very tricky to do when we took control of the Wii-mote.
The game has some features which are similar to the DS version. You get to see very similar graphics for Andy's room, Sunnyside Daycare and the train rescue scene, but this game is a lot more action packed and has required a lot of extra game play, and my kids have still not completed it. The DS game was completed fairly quickly.
The game menu is a bit like the board part of a board game. You see a board on the screen, a path between the different sections of the board, and then there are little buildings which are the different areas of the game where the action takes place. Not all of these are available at the start, so as you go along and complete some of the sections, more game play becomes available to you. Some of the later sections are the ones that are most problematic for my children to play.
When areas are completed, you can go back and have freeplay in those areas or move on and look at the new areas you have unlocked. My 5 year old does tend to get bored if he can't do a new bit and go back to something he can do, so some bits I have seen a lot more of than others.
One of the first bits of the game I saw was a 'Toybox' mode, which has a bit called Woody's Round Up. This is a Wild West town, with wooden buildings, and reminds me of the town that Andy built for his toys when he was playing games in the Toy Story 1 and 2 films. There is a county jail with a picture of Mr Potato Head for example, and a notice board that is an etch-a-sketch. At first we weren't entirely sure how to play the game as you do with a new game, but we realised that you went around collecting cash by throwing balls at things like plants, and they release coins. You also have to talk to the townsfolk who give you a task to do. When you have enough cash, you can then buy other toys from Al's Toy Barn booths throughout the town, and open up the areas within this part of the game that you couldn't access.
For example, you can buy 'Bullseye', Woody's horse. Then you can do a timed race around the track that appears before your eyes. You can also buy the army men, then throw them off the roofs of buildings so they parachute down onto targets and win you extra things you need within the game such as prize capsules.
The tasks given by the townsfolk have been fairly simple such as rounding up all the cows and painting the town, to more complicated finding costumes like barbershop costumes and dressing the townsfolk. This area has really captured their imagination. It can be quite tricky like you need to shake the wii-mote in different directions to control the army men as they parachute in on top of the targets, and it requires a lot more skill than normal gameplay. They like it when they can throw the balls at the townsfolk and the aliens. They also like the effect of shrinking Bullseye and then making Woody ride him. It is comical to them.
The game can be made easier by following a compass round the screen once you know what your task is, and you can always look at the information points throughout the level which are question or exclamation marks floating in the air, or stopping to talk to a townsfolk person.
The next bit of gameplay is the more linear story mode, which is similar to the DS version, in that there is the train rescue scene from the start sequence of the film Toy Story 3, finding the cell phone and house phone to make it ring, there is an escape from Sunnyside nursery, and some time at Bonnie's house. These are the easier parts of the game as you are moving round completing tasks in a logical manner as you know already from seeing the film.
It is the bonus levels that have both charmed and baffled us. The games that Bonnie plays with her toys are completely surreal, so they make it seem like an entirely different game to what we originally started playing. It is not content from the film so it was a surprise at first, and quite tricky to know what to expect, but it has been a lot of fun.
In one of these levels, there is a game where Bonnie's doll is trying to make Buzz fall into a cup of coffee. There is a maze of sorts going throughout the coffee cup, but it is a bit crazy and things fly at you to push you off, and if you don't move quickly the thing you are standing on can also disappear from under you. This mimics the play of a small toddler where unrealistic things can happen to try and win the game.
The second of these levels is the Haunted Bakery. You are running round a town again, and you can hear the voices of Bonnie and Andy introducing the weird events that happen before your eyes. You are being chased by cackling witches and evil muffins are trying to eat you. The witches fire lasers from their eyes. You are sent a cannon to help you, but this level is so tricky. There are so many hazards that cause you to lose your life, and you need to keep running round to find extra health and extra ammunition. This takes some mastering even from us adults, so it will be a long time till the kids can play these independently. They do love watching us play this one.
Other extras within the game is there is a Buzz video game section. There is one of these on the DS version too, but this one is so tricky because of using the Wii-mote. You have to negotiate a path to Zurg, and then have a fight with different robots. This has been really frustrating as you have to shoot a laser at some crystal structures in the distance on the screen. My 5 year old has found it impossible to do this as he finds his arm wobbles so he can't fire at it continuously for long enough. I'm not much better as I can't aim properly to do it, but between us, we can do it if I sit behind him and hold his arm from underneath to stop it wobbling.
There is also an Al Toys barn store which you can go to like the booths in the Woody's round up section to buy toys, or you can look at what you have collected as you have gone round the game and see what is still left to collect. My kids tell me this is the most boring bit. Visually it looks good though.
Also, there is a theatre where you can watch some of the favourite animated sections from Toy Story 3 such as the train escape.
Overall, this game is good, at about £12 to buy currently there is a lot to do in it and keep you going, and it is sufficiently different from the DS version for me not to get rid of one of them. I prefer this to the DS version as it is easier to all see it on the big screen and there is just a lot more to it. The music also grates on me less as there are more areas each with their own musical score to it. So it is less monotonous to my ears.
The wii-mote makes it a bit more tricky than you would find it on other consoles. I also sometimes find that when the kids are running round and round the wild west town in the round up because they are figuring out what to do, I can sometimes feel nauseous at the way the image on the screen rotates round. This just seems to be me though, with the kids and my husband being unaffected by it.
I think even 7 year olds would need a great deal of support in this game, as there is a fair bit to read and figure out at times, and as I have said, the manipulation of the characters with the wii-mote is tricky even for adults. This does mean there is a lot of frustration when you can't do it, but also a great deal of satisfaction when you eventually figure out what it is you need to do and then manage to do it.
I am quite impressed by this title, and think it has a lot of appeal to Toy Story fans, children, and enough challenge for most gamers. It has been a good addition to our collection of games.