Review by SneakTheSnake

Reviewed: 11/16/12

Now THIS is what I call a licensed game. Very well done.

If the paradigm is just going to stick around - you know, which states that licensed games are almost always going to be terrible - then perhaps a mobile device is where they belong. They’re small in space and, if the developers know anything at all about selling, then their prices will be low in order to match the competition. Then, it’s not as big an investment on a disappointing game, in contrast to a good twenty-to-fifty-dollar investment for a game on the consoles and other handhelds. Wreck-It Ralph for iOS not only fits well on its respective platform, but it’s also a fine accompaniment to the movie. The price is right, the graphics and gameplay are pretty charming and it far outranks the Wreck-It Ralph Wii counterpart.

Wreck-It Ralph for iOS is in fact three mini-games - soon to be four. Each mini-game is based on one of the gaming worlds featured in the CGI film of the same name; one game is Fix-It Felix Jr., and the others are based on Sugar Rush and Hero’s Duty. Each game is of a different genre and is built completely differently from the ground up. Fix-It Felix Jr. is an arcade-like action game perhaps most akin to Q*Bert or Pac-Man; the Sugar Rush game is a jumper; and Hero’s Duty is a twin-stick shooter.

The strongest game in the package is Fix-It Felix Jr. You take on the role of Felix, who's tasked with hopping along several floors of a building and must repair the windows that the villainous Wreck-It Ralph breaks. Ralph will smash some windows while ascending each building, and he’ll then stand atop the building and throw bricks down at you while you, as Felix, must repair the windows with your hammer. Some windows must be hit twice if they're completely broken, while others must be hit only once. You can collect pies for temporary invincibility. Levels become increasingly more complex, with window shades and flower boxes restricting your movement up and down the building. Levels become much more maze-like, as some paths along the building lead to dead ends. You’ll eventually encounter more and more obstacles, like ducks which fly from one side of the screen to the other, and barriers will become much more numerous. The game exudes the same feel as the arcade games on which Fit-It Felix Jr. is based and becomes rather addicting. My only complaint is that the virtual gamepad can be a little touchy. It led to some accidental deaths.

The Sugar Rush game is about as pedestrian as it gets. You tilt your device left and right to get Ralph to jump up an infinite tower of candy-cane branches. You collect treats along the way to boost your score or to help you jump faster. Some branches break right after you jump on them, and, the higher up you go, the fewer branches there are. It’s all rather dull and has been seen in many other iOS titles before. Hero’s Duty works like Robotron, in which you obliterate wave after wave of enemy bugs in a top-down shooter format. Various weapon power-ups help you eradicate the enemies easier and faster. The game controls serviceably, but it lacks variety. These two games are simply not as engaging as Fix-It Felix Jr. and lack the appeal of the app's headliner.

There are leaderboards and achievements for each of the three mini-games. The leaderboards are both local and worldwide, and you can even compare scores with friends through Facebook. It’s all rather intuitive, and the menus / help screens are charming and well-integrated. This mini-game collection uses Game Central Station as its hubworld / menu screen, and the holographic security guy is there as your guide.

The graphics in this app are very, very good, and the sound as well. Each mini-game exudes a very different visual style. Fix-It Felix Jr. impressed me the most, with its retro, 8-bit-inspired graphics, while Sugar Rush and Hero’s Duty are serviceable at best. The music loops are very brief (the one for Fix-It Felix Jr. is perhaps ten seconds), which can become grating, and that would be my only complaint. I would have also liked to hear some voiceover work.

The whole package is a scant 99 cents, and the three games (with a fourth on the way), thanks in part to its nicely-done exterior, are worth the investment. This is the way to do a movie-based app; better put, this is a way to do a mobile game. The gameplay is quick, drop-in-drop-out fun, and there's a competitive edge to boot. Wreck-It Ralph for the iOS features gameplay variety, good graphics and plenty of charm. It functions as a wonderful companion to the movie and also as a fine mobile investment. Frankly, I recommend that players pick this one up.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Wreck-It Ralph (US, 11/01/12)

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