When all you have left is about to be taken from you, and a promise you made many moons ago looks set to be lost, sometimes all you have to do is inflate an incredible number of balloons and just float away. Up is the tie-in game for the Disney-Pixar film of the same name and not, as some of you may be thinking, the story of a boy who floated away in a silver balloon, only to be found safe and well at the home of his publicity-seeking parents after sparking nationwide panic.

Being a film-tie in, it’s gaming tradition that it must be rubbish. Up isn’t all that bad, to be honest. As a reviewer just slightly outside the target demographic, but a massive Pixar fan, I actually enjoyed (most of) the game and was pleasantly surprised by the whole affair, really.

The game takes the story of Up and subtly changes it, so if you’ve seen the film it’s a slightly different story line you’ll be following, while not really spoiling the adventure for those who haven’t.

Graphically, with Pixar’s source material to draw on, it’s not too bad. My one complaint would be that Mr Fredrickson was a bit squarer about the face than in the film. From a sound point of view, the game is voiced by the cast of the movie and I actually found myself laughing at a few of the incidental comments made while playing a level.

The game features a strong co-operative element – Russell and Mr F often have to work as a team to pass certain areas, with each character having a different skill set. Mr Fredrickson can pry things with his cane, while the rather rotund Russell can, inexplicably, shimmy along narrow ledges. Playing in single player you switch between characters with a tap of the bumper buttons, but the AI will kick in when both players need to work together. This doesn’t always work and you will find yourself switching between the characters to achieve your desired goal.

This is one of a few glitches I found whilst playing. Sometimes the camera will stick, with your characters invisible off-screen somewhere. This occurred on a couple of levels – I was able to move enough for the camera to reset once, but other times prompted a level restart. The AI scripting also got in the way a few times, with Kevin the bird being more of a hindrance than a help as he refused to move after launching Russell up a cliff, meaning the co-op rope climb couldn’t be carried out. While easily fixable, by just redoing the jump, this was a tad frustrating.

There’s also the dog ambushes. These become very old, very quickly. Basically a Quick Time Event, you have to stun the attacking dogs by pressing X when they charge you. There’s very little time to do this and it can become frustrating as you face a couple of waves of dogs in later levels and failure means re-doing the lot. Maybe kids have faster reaction times than my old, creaky ones but I did find myself become quite frustrated with these – particularly in the later levels – which made blowing them out of the sky during the final dogfight a lot more enjoyable.







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