What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the gameplay seems unfinished and haphazard. Some puzzles are too hard even for parents. Like the movie, this is a game that is somewhat disturbing. The parents seem more concerned with writing a garden catalog than in listening to young Coraline. When the fantasy world into which Coraline retreats becomes her prison, there is fear and creepiness that sensitive kids might not enjoy. On the other hand, some kids will think it's utterly cool.
What's it about?
CORALINE, the video game, closely follows the plot of the dark, 3-D animated movie Coraline, which is based on the ever darker children's book by Neil Gaiman. Lonely but perky and resilient Coraline is ignored by her self-absorbed writer parents and retreats through a door in the wall into a fantasy world. That parallel world, which at first features more perfect parents, seems idyllic. Soon, though, its horrible nature is revealed.
In the Wii version, you'll use the Nunchuk and the Wii remote to move Coraline through her world. The 'C' button becomes a lantern when things are dark while the 'Z' button allows you interact with other characters and see your current objective (like meeting your neighbors) on the screen. The 'A' button lets you jump or climb, and the 'B' button permits you kick or shoot your slingshot. As you move through your missions, you'll collect a lot of buttons, which are redeemable for outfits, artwork, and movie scenes in a store.
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, the gameplay is frustrating. Say you accept the mission of picking apples for the sweet, odd ladies who live in the basement. If you hit the apple near the edge of the fruit, it doesn't register. Plus, moving your slingshot with the Nunchuk is slow and imprecise. If you shoot the slingshot at someone you're not supposed to, he doesn't even say 'Ouch' or register pain. Why couldn't the developers have let you simply aim and shoot with the Wii remote?
The moody graphics, the foreboding music, and the wonderful voice acting are lost on gameplay that's boring or doesn't make sense. Coraline feels shunned by her parents. So why must she listen to them when they give her inane tasks like finding blue items in the house? And when the neighbor upstairs calls her Caroline, she doesn't make a peep – completely unlike her reaction in the book and the movie. Add a camera that's buggy and the inability to truly explore your creepy outside surroundings and you've got a game that doesn't do justice to a thoughtful, touching, stop-motion movie that took many years to create.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about when and if the game complements the movie and book. Does playing the game make you want to see the movie again? Do you ever get lonely like Coraline? What do you do when this happens? Have you ever had imaginary friends? What kind of personality did your imaginary friend have?