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My son received a PSP for his birthday, and with the bundle we received toy story 3. It was recommended from six years plus but we were happy risking that he would be able to play it at age 5. My son does like toy story so I knew he would be happy to find his favourite movie characters come to life on the PSP.
Story mode is the main area of the game, and basically it is a run through of the film toy story three. It includes all the characters from the film, and each level sends the toys on another adventure. Each level has a few objectives, one being to locate an area/ person/ thing to complete your mission, but along the way of course children's are met with puzzles to complete. They manage to add in activities that are really enjoyable to play, and little one still has to use their brain to figure out what to do next. It used numbers, shapes and letters all rolled in to a game hidden so the child does not even realise they are using these skills. After the general missions have been completed, you then have the choice to revisit and complete in a number of different ways. There is a time challenge, object collection and toy story coins collection, that all unlock new awards once completed. Buzz adventures is a mini game section that includes five levels all built around Buzz. These are perfect for when a child wants to be buzz as he is the only character in these games. They all relate to his enemy Emperor Zurg or missions in space. Cowboy roundup is a mini game relating to, you guessed it woody. In this series of five mini games you get the chance to follow woody and save the day. Every level has a cowboy theme and perfect for a child who loves woody. These extra levels are not only perfect for choosing to be one of the two main characters, but it also varies from the main story mode giving little one more choice.
The game is fun and the characters can do a number of things. They can run, jump, shoot their draw string or laser, cling on to shelves and jump over furniture. My son finds some of the missions hilarious and you can really tell he is enjoying playing. We like that with each level brings a new character to control. My son was a little disappointed he could not chose who to be while playing, but cheered up once he reached the second level to find the variation. Every game brings something completely new to do, so it does hold children's attention well. They are sure to bring the most memorable scenes into the game including the train race, the rubbish shoot and the nursery.
The controls are fairly easy. The creators have used the easily located buttons on the front of the Psp for the main controlling of the characters. This makes it very easy for little fingers to happily play this game, without introducing complex multi buttons, or anything confusing. The controls can be a little sensitive sometimes, and as there is a lot of climbing, balancing and holding on the ledges it can be a little annoying. It is recommended from six years plus, and the creators have took this in to considerations while building it. Even my two year old son can control the characters easily. Graphics to the game are very basic. There is nothing overly wow that jumps out at you, but they are good enough to please their targeted audience. The characters look how they should, and the background is very detailed to make it just like the film would look.
In the bonus area you can purchase items that help improve the game. These can be purchased with the story coins you collect in the main story mode. There are things such as cheats, pictures, running faster in the game. My little boy only recently found this area and decided to buy everything he could. He had collected a large amount of coins and was not sure what to do with them. There on screen instructions, and a talk over to explain what to do so a child has clear goals. By pressing the up and down button at the same time the game will show a preview of where you need to go just in case you become lost. The layout of the game is very clear, so even a child at the lower age range can find their way around easily.
The game is not overly challenging really. There are a few levels that are a little difficult. For example the alien one requires a lot of thought moving boxes over vents in three different rows to clear the path. My son finds that difficult to do so likes me to sit with him while he completes it. Now he has played through it once he knows what to do, so he can play it independently. There are around 10 different levels on story mode. Then the other 10 levels provided with woody and buzz is a nice extra. I know the games can be repeated over and over again to achieve different awards, but as they are being played on the same levels it still becomes a little boring once the game has been completed. My son knows each level like the back of his hand so I have found it has lost its appeal now. My younger children still enjoy playing it, but I feel my five year old son no longer find it challenging. For an older child I believe they could become bored even quicker as the levels would be far too simple for them.
I like that they really have built this game for a toy story film fan. You have the chance to play as Buzz, woody, Jessie, and even Lotso the bear. They bring all the possible characters they can in to the adventures, whether it is rescuing from troubles they may fall into or working together to complete puzzles. It is good enjoyable simple fun for any toy story fan, and even for someone who is not overly keen. Who wouldn't enjoy running across the top of a train, or riding into the night on Bullsey. My son is not a huge game player; he does have access to a number of his father's consoles, but not a huge fan. We found this was the perfect game for him to start with, as it is easy to control and navigate.
The game can sometimes take forever to load between scenes. It is not too bad in story mode, but while on the other games this game holds it in terrible. We have no problems with the loading of other games on his Psp so I put it down to a problem with the game. There is no toy box mode. Looking at the description on Amazon it was very confusing. It promises a toy box that is the wonder of the game, but we could not find it anywhere. Looking online to try and locate this area it appears it is available on all platforms excluding PSP. It seems a standard description is used to describe the game on all platforms BUT they forget to mention it is not available on the PSP platform. Also there seem to be small glitch in some places in the game. By moving to a corner on the shelf, or through a secret hideaway the character becomes stuck able to look around but not move. This can be very frustrating while you are half way through the game as you have to restart.
I would recommend this game as my son does really enjoy playing it. My only problem is they seem to have taken a lot of the appeal away by removing the toy box, and it feels like they sold out a little on PSP. There are a lot of activities to complete, and options to do them in different ways so my son was very happy with it. He completed it in around two weeks which is rather quick for him. He was only playing for on average an hour a day, so it is not hugely challenging. All of my children have played this game and they do like it. I would suggest it for younger children maybe for the ages 4-8 years as it is a simple game. The game retails at around £13 which we found to be reasonable for a Disney character game. My children have received a lot of play with this game, and they did really enjoy it. I think the age recommendation could be lowered a little as my five and three year old can both independently play this game. My five year old son completed it in around two weeks, but did go back to unlock every award possible.