|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Telltale Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Telltale Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Mar. 24, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Deviating slightly from the standard point-and-click setup (due to plans for the eventual launch of Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game), controlling the movements of Wallace or Gromit is done independently of the hotspot selection. The WASD keyboard keys move your character towards and away from the camera and left and right. The exact direction youll move changes in relation to the static camera angle for a specific area, which automatically pans and changes frequently as you move around.
This can sometimes be a tad disorienting when transitioning from one area to another, since you may find the directions have suddenly switched up unexpectedly. Interacting with nearby objects and examining items is still done with the mouse button. Separating the movement from the hotspot clicking was a questionable decision that was clearly a result of designing the game with controllers in mind. While it works reasonably well on the PC (and will surely be pulled-off fine on consoles), its more awkward than it needs to be. As the saying goes: if its not broken, dont fix it.
Many of the puzzles in the game involve scouring rooms for usable items and figuring out where to use them elsewhere in the game. Through most of the adventure your inventory never gets particularly large, and most of the things you pick up are used rather immediately. Wallaces inventive nature and the peculiar gizmos youll come across around the house make for some fairly unusual combinations. There are also a few different kinds of challenges thrown in at various points to provide variety, particularly towards the end of the episode.
Presentation-wise, Fright of the Bumblebees nails the spirit and personality of the animation series perfectly. The cartoonish graphics have just the right amount of shine and texture to closely capture the look and feel of the original clay animations. The animations themselves are more fluid than the claymation, but they are very true to the original style. Digital recreations of Wallace and Gromits home and neighborhood are spot on, and all of the locations are nicely detailed. Unique camera angles keep things fresh too. Rather than the traditionally static front-view found in many adventure games, the camera angles fluctuate from numerous perspectives and angles. Voice work is also a big draw. Sadly, its often drowned out by slightly louder than necessary music. Without turning subtitles on (theres no menu option to adjust the music and dialogue volumes separately), youll have to strain your ears to make out some of the thick British accents.
On the whole, Fright of the Bumblebees is an excellent starting point for the episodic series. Wallace and Gromit are just as charming as ever, and their first episodic romp left us looking forward to seeing where Telltale will take the two in future episodes. Clocking in at several hours of solid playtime, episode one is a relatively short endeavor, but the content is brimming with quality.
CCC Staff Contributor