A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this game is a tie-in with the George of the Jungle TV show. It's geared for early grade school kids. However, several parts of the game are inordinately difficult and almost certain to cause kids to either abandon play or come running to their parents in frustration. Violence is present in the form of punching, biting, and spear poking, but it is very cartoonish in nature. Note that this single-player game requires both a Wii remote and nunchuk to play.
What's it about?
Based on the TV show George of the Jungle, GEORGE OF THE JUNGLE AND THE SEARCH FOR THE SECRET is a basic side-scrolling adventure game that involves plenty of running, jumping, and swinging. Players use the motion sensitive capabilities of the Wii remote and nunchuk to make the game's eponymous hero to do things like throw switches, run into trees, and lift cages as he races through the jungle to collect pages of research that describe a cure to an illness suffered by his friends.
Is it any good?
This could have a been a terrific game for young kids, providing the same sort of satisfying introduction to the joys of platform adventure games as Go Diego Go! Safari Rescue. And, during the first few minutes, which see players performing lots of fun and easy leaps and landings as they steer George through a bright and prettily drawn jungle, it appears to be that game. Unfortunately, it doesn't take long for things to take a turn for the worse. Seemingly driven by the need to make some use of the Wii's novel motion sensitive functionality, the game's developers have made many of George's abilities dependant on complex and unintuitive physical arm and hand movements. Simple actions, such as running into trees to knock down coins, are consequently far more frustrating than they ought to be.
But the game's biggest problem is combat. George's battles against apes, crocodiles, and a few other foes are clunky and tedious. What's worse, it takes only a few hits for George to be rendered unconscious, costing the player a life and sending him or her back to the last checkpoint. Get knocked out a few times and all the way back to the beginning of the level you go. The boss battles at the end of each level are even more maddening, thanks to a combination of clumsy motion sensitive controls and a lack of instructions explaining how to beat them. It adds a completely unnecessary level of difficulty to a game ostensibly designed for young children. The pity of it all is that combat isn't even a fundamental facet of platform games. Had George of the Jungle been made without any combat at all the game would have been an infinitely more enjoyable experience.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the concept of licensed properties. How does the success of a book, game, movie, television show, or toy make companies want to transfer the license to other mediums in order to make more mone? Does the quality of the subject lessened in the process? The conversation can then shift to the idea of breathing new life into old franchises. Parents can talk about whether they liked the original George of the Jungle and then ask their kids what they think of the new version. Is there creative merit involved in recreating a classic show or is it simply a means for entertainment companies to make a quick buck?
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