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 based on the movie Igor. While the main characters -- which include a disembodied brain, a hare who can't die, and a Frankenstein-like creature -- are monsters, everything is presented in humorous, cartoonish fashion; most children are unlikely to be frightened of anything they see. A bigger concern for parents will be value they get for their dollar. Igor lasts only a few hours, and is extremely repetitive. If you decide to purchase the game, best to get the PC edition, which is half the price of the version available for the Wii.
What's it about?
The inevitable interactive spin-off based on the animated film, IGOR is a simple adventure game for children that follows the major plot points of the movie while adding in some play scenarios of its own. This is a story about a young lab assistant to an evil scientist who yearns to be something more than a simple switch-puller, and so he creates his own monster. But Igor is dismayed to learn that his creation actually has a tender soul, and would rather sing and dance than, say, attack blind children. However, the story is limited to brief cut scenes between levels.
Players spend most of the game wandering around smallish environments collecting gears, fending off perpetually swarming enemies, and tracking down the occasional special item, such as a "Wish You Weren't Here" card that's required to get rid of an irksome guard.
Is it any good?
Igor is a simple game and suffers from repetitive gameplay. The goals for most levels are nearly identical: collect paper flowers scattered around the environment until you have enough to be allowed access to the next area. There is the occasional puzzle -- you might need to slot a cog into a machine to make it start to spin, or perform an electrical attack to power up a device -- but these challenges are both rudimentary and rare.
The developers tried to mix things up a bit by giving each of the four main characters, whom you can switch between at will, specific abilities. Scamper, for example, can jump extraordinarily high but has weak attacks, while Brain can hardly get off the ground but fires powerful rockets from his mechanical arm. However, the limits of these abilities are explored in the game's first couple of levels. Since the game has a very small number of levels, gung-ho kids will be able to finish the game within a single night. And there's little in the way of replay value, save trying to achieve higher scores. Younger children who enjoyed the movie will undoubtedly have fun taking on the roles of their favorite characters in the game, but everyone else would do well to take a pass.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea of breaking away from preconceived notions we might have of people based on the way they look or where they come from. People in Igor's world see his hump and think that he is little more than an unintelligent slave. They never give him a chance to prove himself. Do you think people fail to see you for what you really are? Do you think you ever judge someone based solely on his or her looks?
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