A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures has cute characters and slapstick comedy that will appeal to kids as young as 4 or 5, but that the writing is aimed at an older audience -- with many jokes that seem squarely aimed at adults. Some of the situations -- while all G-rated -- may be deemed inappropriate for younger children (such as Wallace trying to swipe a teabag from a woman's bosom). Also, the game is very British, and the hearty helpings of slang could confuse children. That being said, if your children already know Wallace & Gromit from their films, they'll probably be able to handle this game as well. Parents should also be aware, though, that this game is made up of four episodes, which were each available previously in downloadable form; this disc just collects all four for the first time (and allows you to get them all for half the price of buying them individually).
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What's it about?
WALLACE & GROMIT'S GRAND ADVENTURES is comprised of four interconnected episodes. Each serves as a complete story unto itself, but also advances a larger central plot that runs through all the episodes. In Fright of the Bumblebees, Wallace and his dog Gromit accidentally grow giant bees and must save their neighborhood form the enormous insects. In The Last Resort, the two turn their suburban home into an indoor beach resort and end up having to solve the mystery of who bonked the bully on the head when the lights went out. In Muzzled, a sinister carnival comes to town and is discovered to be a front for a dog-napping operation. In The Bogey Man, Wallace joins a country club and must battle his bully on the golf course in order to save his street from demolition (it's a long story).
Is it any good?
Anyone who has enjoyed Wallace & Gromit's animated films will absolutely love Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures. The writing, the voice acting, the humor, and even the look (characters in the game really appear to be made of clay) are pretty much perfect. The stories are imaginative and often hilarious, and the puzzles that must be solved in order to advance the plot are ingeniously designed. Even the way the game gives you hints works wonderfully, as all the hints are delivered as dialogue in the story. For instance, if you, as Wallace, have been wandering about town, unsure of your next move, you might hear Wallace say, "I wonder how Gromit's doing back at home." Aha! Now you know your next step is back at the house. As Wallace might say, cracking good job!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Gromit's status as a hero. The ultra-capable dog is generally the one who pulls everything together in the end, but he never gets credit for his amazing deeds (except from Wallace). Does this fit the standard definition of a hero? Is Gromit more or less of a hero than the traditional protagonists of other action tales? Can Wallace be considered a hero, too?
Families can also discuss the various romantic relationships in the stories. Which couples seem genuinely happy together? Some of the couples argue, but get past it -- is that a good or bad thing for a relationship?
The game can also provide a good lesson in British colloquialisms. Parents can inform their children what various terms mean in American English.
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