Cheat Code

Jul 28, 2010 at 12:00 am

Toy Story 3
Disney Interactive Studios
Xbox 360 (Review copy), PS3, Wii

It's easy to write off a game catering to kids as a cash grab short on substance, difficulty and fun. It's even easier to completely reject a children's movie game. Well, you'll have to hold off initial judgment here on Toy Story 3 because — dare I say it? — the game adaptation is actually challenging and fun ... even for adults.

Keeping with the movie's storyline, young Andy is now college age, and Woody, Buzz and the rest of the cast are trying to finagle one last play session with Andy before he heads off to lectures, frat parties and dorm-room encounters of the coed type. The game uses movie plot points to introduce each level, with visits to Sunnyside Day Care, Bonnie's house and the Buzz Lightyear video game from Toy Story 2

The game begins with a western action sequence similar to the opening of the flick. Forsaking a tutorial mode, TS 3 throws you right into the action, teaching you advanced techniques along the way. Primarily a 3-D platformer, you'll control Woody, Buzz and Jesse, each with their own specialties, to complete your objectives. The platforming itself, while lacking the polish of Super Mario Galaxy, is still rather good. 

The game's biggest conundrum? Sometimes the game's difficulty transcends all children's fare. This reviewer actually found the challenge to be a nice surprise, but one could easily see frustration building in a youngster who's used to a much simpler experience. Also included is the "Toy Box Mode," a sandbox town you create, interacting (usually hilariously) with the inhabitants.

TS 3's game experience is actually pretty similar to its Pixar film counterparts — it's for kids and parents. Children will enjoy being their favorite movie character, and adults "forced" to play will find the challenge isn't just kid's stuff.