Oh look, another movie tie-in. Here we go again.
Not this time.
Usually your cynicism would be thoroughly justified, but Gameloft has clearly concentrated on making a seriously good game rather than a quick licensed buck.
After the surprise theft of a model ship leads to thoroughly unexpected repercussions, beloved international journalist and all-round adventurer TinTin sets out on a globe-trotting adventure with his canine pal Snowy. Throughout the course of a number of varied and colourful levels, you'll control both characters (using incredibly intuitive on-screen virtual icons) in a range of different gameplay styles: from swashbuckling swordplay, technical climbing and intrepid investigation to a few tricky puzzles. The third person action is as solid as you'd expect from a Gameloft title, but The Adventures Of Tintin has a lot more to offer.
Stealth mechanics are one of the most important parts of the proceedings. Holding down the blue icon (adorably styled to look like a postage stamp), makes TinTin creep around and allows him to sneak by otherwise powerful enemies without being noticed. When combined with climbing sections, it's an incredibly refreshing and tense experience that makes a change from the usual straightforward action and platforming titles that tend to dominate the App Store.
A number of slickly-implemented Quick Time Events have been used to create a genuine sense of immersion and interactivity within the game world. You're encouraged to poke, drag and prod your way around the environments to pick up coins and unlockable jigsaw pieces, open gates and smash barriers... or take part in some visceral (and occasionally hilarious) interactive cutscenes that evoke the silver screen shenanigans. I'm certainly not a fan of QTEs - and can't stand it when games include them unnecessarily - but in this case they're intuitive and effective enough to add to the experience. When used properly, they can actually make a game better.
The reckless variety and set pieces make for an unpredictable and exciting yarn that will keep you hooked throughout the narrative. Admittedly hardcore gamers may find themselves blazing through it fairly quickly thanks to a fairly easy level of challenge, but it's still a hefty proposition nonetheless.
Graphically, The Adventures Of TinTin captures the look and feel of the movie with muted textures, incredibly fluid animations and impressive facial expressions. Sound design and voice acting are equally impressive, leading to a big-budget feel at a bargain bin price level.
As a personal aside, Gameloft has demonstrated that they're capable of so much more than delivering polished clones. The Adventures Of Tintin makes its own template and does so exceptionally well, delivering an experience that stands proudly alone and away from the dubious comparisons that several of Gameloft's more conventional titles often attract. Bravo.
- Effective action/stealth gameplay
- Smooth controls and visceral interactive cutscenes
- Impressive presentation and high production values
- A little on the easy side
Summary: The Adventures Of Tintin is a ripping mobile yarn that will appeal to those who haven't the slightest interest in the film as well as diehard fans... and it's a bit of a looker to boot. A surprise masterpiece.
Compatibility: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later.
Price: £4.99 - App Store