Lemony Snicket’s: A Series of Unfortunate Events ReviewCain Dornan
With almost every childrens movie follows a sloppy, boring and poor video game. Usually created to soak up some further revenue from consumers, the majority of video games based on movies are simply a quickly developed title by an unskilled group of developers that only purchase the license to the title to ensure that a large number will sell regardless wether the title is actually decent. Thankfully, Activisions Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events has finally managed to use a license to its full advantage. Aimed for the younger audience, Lemony Snicket offers a range of enjoyable, interesting and actually educational gameplay that is only disappointed with its extremely short lifespan.
You are introduced to the life of the three Baudelaire children through a stylish and detailed black-and-white book drawings, keeping to the roots of the series of Lemony Snicket books. The game begins and ends with an unhappy ending, and features little happy events that occur during the middle, with you being warned in the opening cutscene not to play if you wish to play a happy game. You are soon introduced to the evil Count Olaf and the game begins. After exploring Count Olafs mansion for a short while, you soon discover of Olafs plans and escape from the house. However, Count Olaf will continue to hunt you down during the remainder of the game.
The gameplay in Lemony Snicket is simply yet enjoyable. Switching between both Violet and Klaus is a simply as a tap of the button, allowing you to take advantage of each characters abilities. Klaus, for example, obtains the strength and ability to push heavy objects and battle your enemies. Using Violets inventions, Klaus is able to rid areas of snappy rats and dangerous henchmen using his close-range weapons. Violet, on the other hand, has an excellent mind that is able to create a range of inventions using materials scattered throughout the games environments and destroys of enemies using long ranged weapons. Finally, there is baby Sunny; a toddler who obtains powerful teeth which are capable of chewing through metal. Although Sunny is only occasional used, her missions usually require you to perform platforming tasks, such as jumping from platform to platform or speeding down a slope whilst avoiding obstacles. This adds some variation in the gameplay when compared to what is experienced whilst playing as Violet or Klaus.
As well as each character (apart from Sunny) obtaining an invention that is capable of destroying enemies, a range of other useful inventions are used throughout the game. At one point, Klaus is able to fly across gaps using his fan shoes; shoes containing a fan on the bottom of his shoes. Violet soon invents a pair of shoes on stilts, allowing her to walk across dangerous liquids and other obstacles without harm. To build each invention, however, you are first required to locate the objects. This is simple as each object is surrounded by sparkling particles. Once collected, you are required to simply connect each object together as per Violets simple instructions.
Unlike the majority of other adventure titles that are aimed towards the younger audience, the gameplay constantly changes as you progress. Instead of simply running around and discovering new pieces to create new inventions, you are often interrupted to participate in new activities, such as shooting a number of crabs and thugs on the wharf or using both Violet and Klaus simultaneously to complete a puzzle. This keeps the player interested; however the shortness of the game is definitely disappointing. A number of boss battles also occur throughout the game, with most using similar gameplay mechanics. The only major problem with the gameplay is that the game is simply too short. The game can be easily completed in less than five hours, with only a small number of unlockable extras offering a small amount of additional gameplay.
An addition that would have been welcomed, however, is the presence of more difficult puzzles. There are several fetch this or find the location for this quests throughout the game, however neither offers a challenge, further diminishing the lifespan and replay ability of the title.
The general controls are rather smooth and work nicely. Klaus and Violet control identical whilst Sunny receives a more simply, easier approach which suits her levels perfectly. One problem, however, is the close-combat fighting system. Fighting the smaller creatures, such as the crabs and rats, is often not an easy task, as a result of heavy controls that offer little variation and control. This often results in unneeded damage received due to the poor, unforgiving controls.
The character models and scenery are simply styled. Character animations are limited, with facial features offering only a small number of animation, and often move in a jolty, un-realistic way. Other small features, such as realistically moving hair, appear to be missing. Although this may appear downgrading, it is important to remember that the gameplay is simple, aimed towards the younger audience, which requires simple graphics to accompany it. Scenery detail offers slightly more detail than the character models, with some areas being more impressive than others.
As like the graphics and gameplay, the sound is basic, yet works well. Music consists of simple, well-constructed pieces that vary appropriately depending upon the location and conditions that the music is being used. Voice acting, although not quite as good as it could have been, generally sounds good. Finally, sound effects are also basic yet effective, with many objects taking on a cartoonier sound which, of course, suits the style of the gameplay perfectly.
Lemony Snickets: A Series of Unofrtunate Events is a solid, yet simple game that provides for an interesting experience, especially for younger gamers. Unlike many other games that are based off movies, Lemony Snicket has made full use of the license to provide an interesting, unique game to accompany the movie respectfully. Although the older crowd are likely to become bored with the title within a matter of hours, four to seven year olds are likely to find more lifespan with this short, yet enjoyable adventure.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.