Bet­ter than av­er­age fare

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Tech - MIKE WIL­COX mike@hy­per­ac­tiveg­ames.com

IF PAST ex­pe­ri­ence has demon­strated any­thing about li­censed video game tie- ins for movies, it’s they of­ten miss the mark. Whether you’re a fan of the lat­est

Ad­ven­tures of Tintin movie or not, the game man­ages to buck the usual trend, but only just.

Loosely fol­low­ing the plot of the movie, which blends three of Tintin’s comic ad­ven­tures into a sin­gle story,

The Se­cret of The Uni­corn fol­lows the young reporter’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mys­ter­ies of a model ship that takes him half­way across the world.

He crosses paths with friends, vil­lains and the per­ma­nently plas­tered Cap­tain Had­dock.

At its heart, Se­cret of The Uni­corn is a puz­zle plat­former that in­volves spend­ing most of your time in two di­men­sions and solv­ing sim­ple puz­zles.

What the brain­teasers ul­ti­mately lack in dif­fi­culty they make up for in va­ri­ety and in­ven­tive de­sign.

Where the game re­ally shines is in the com­bat. Straight­for­ward melee at the be­gin­ning even­tu­ally de­vel­ops into a full suite of com­bat abil­i­ties, along with the need to use stealth tac­tics in some sec­tions.

It’s just a shame this com­bi­na­tion of puz­zle solv­ing and com­bat only reaches full swing to­wards the end of the ad­ven­ture.

The game also in­tro­duces a mix of short game­play seg­ments in the name of va­ri­ety. Aerial dog fight­ing and mo­tor­bike chases mix up the pace, while 3D in­ves­ti­ga­tion sec­tions pro­vide the op­por­tu­nity to nosey around the en­vi­ron­ments for in­for­ma­tion.

Nestled along­side the main story cam­paign is a fun co- op­er­a­tive mode fea­tur­ing a set of unique lev­els. Here two play­ers must work to­gether to com­plete tougher puz­zles.

Un­for­tu­nately, the game is less of a snug fit with the movie. Sim­pli­fied graph­ics and cut scenes, plus poor fa­cial an­i­ma­tion, are small ir­ri­ta­tions, but the lack of orig­i­nal voice ac­tors, John Wil­liams’ score and the film’s cen­tral vil­lain are sur­pris­ing omis­sions.

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