The press release announcing Toy Story 3 was only issued back in February, just four short months before the game itself. With such a short space of time between being announced and being released I feared that this would be a rush job. The end result though is a package thatâ€™s both fun and imaginative. See – sometimes itâ€™s nice to be proven wrong.
A makeshift board game – designed by porcine money box Hamm, no less – provides a hub while the game is set as a retrospective after the film. The story mode takes around 3 hours to finish and covers the key-events plus a few extra levels for good measure, such as a chance to play through the Buzz Lightyear videogame seen at the start of Toy Story 2. Two other levels are set in a little girlâ€™s imagination, including one in a bedroom that starts to flood with coffee that has to be quickly avoided. Woody, Jess and Buzz can be swapped between with a touch of button and have their own unique skill – the junkyard level is a highlight as it makes good use of skill swapping and is actually quite clever in places. Should you ever get stuck at any point in the game a hint can be given, and there are also infinite lives on hand to stop the kiddies from getting too frustrated. This doesnâ€™t really do any favours to the difficulty level, mind.
Also available to access from the hub is the significantly longer lasting Wild West themed toy box mode. The idea here is to turn a dusty ghost town into a thriving society by completing missions, buying new buildings and purchasing playthings. Thereâ€™s a relaxed pace with no pressure to do anything apart from stopping the occasional bank robbery and to defend the town from random pixie/gargoyle/robot invasions. The more buildings built, the more things there are to see and do – building the newspaper office, for instance, adds a camera to your inventory and a list of things to find and snap. A goo machine lets you change the size of objects while every building – and also the townâ€™s inhabitants – can be customised with parts hidden around the environments.
Once a sports car has been purchased a brilliantly designed stunt park becomes available and there are countless hidden things to find, like the ability to rather sadistically drop kick the Lego-style townsfolk through the air. To see and do everything on the checklist will take an incredible amount of hours – easily the same amount that youâ€™d have to sink into a decent RPG.
Ignoring the shortcomings of the story mode, I think this will be remembered as a genuinely decent movie tie-in for quite a long time to come.
Oh, and if youâ€™re wondering why Mr. Potato Head isnâ€™t featured itâ€™s because EA currently hold the rights for their Hasbro Game Night series. It isnâ€™t a massive blow – who wants to play as a talking vegetable anyway?