One of the most eagerly anticipated movies of the year is Spike Jonze's live-action adaptation of the beloved children's book Where the Wild Things Are. It's the story of a mischievous young boy named Max who's swept away from his bedroom to the world of the Wild Things, mythical creatures who appear to be frightening beasts keen on devouring you in seconds flat. Of course, that's not the case, and Max is able to befriend these creatures and earn their love. When the film is released, fans will have the chance to play a video game adaptation featuring all of the same characters, but with an alternate storyline not taken from the film or book. We just had a look at Where the Wild Things Are here at E3 2009.
Who's Making This Game: Amaze Entertainment is the studio behind Wild Things. It's a fitting pair because Amaze has a long history of doing movie tie-ins for a long list of films that include Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and The Chronicles of Narnia.
What the Game Looks Like: The visual style is taken directly from the upcoming film. If you've seen the trailer for the movie, the game's graphics should look quite familiar. And in fact, they look pretty good, especially the creatures themselves. Environments tend to be pretty lush--at least early on in the game, at the risk of revealing plot spoilers.
What There Is to Do: Wild Things is a platformer aimed at a young audience, so it offers simple, forgivable controls. Most of what you're doing involves following your creature friends through the forest and traversing dangerous terrain such as cliffs and whatnot. Combat is kept to one button and it tends to involve simple acts such as throwing pollen to keep bees away and tossing big clumps of dirt at things. One level that we were shown added some variety by letting Max ride atop of one of the creatures as he barreled down a linear track through the woods. It was a sort of racing minigame that let you jump over gaps and slide under downed trees.
How the Game Is Played: As we said, the game offers a simple control scheme that keeps you focused on a pair of buttons for jumping and combat.
What They Say: The Amaze producer we spoke with described Where the Wild Things are as a game designed for kids aged 8-13, but with a mature look that will appeal to their older siblings.
What We Say: It's definitely a simple game, and the minimal screen clutter and lack of any major hints or prompts on the screen telling you where to go help keep the focus on the impressive visuals. Overall, it's a nice-looking game that keeps a narrow focus on its gameplay and could provide a nice distraction for kids looking to experience the book's characters in a different way.