|System: X360, Wii, PS2, PC, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Stormfront Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sierra||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Feb. 5, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
You take on three roles while playing The Spiderwick Chronicles. For the most part, you play as Jared. However, you also play as his brother Simon who is good at science and gadgets, as well as the small mouse-like creature Thimbletack, who Jared discovers is living in-between the mansion walls early in the game. Playing as Thimbletack, you will have to complete tasks by traveling through maze-like environments, which are actually pretty confusing at times. You will have to hurdle and climb your way through nooks and crannies in the walls and flooring. Either I am dumb or kids are getting smarter, but I actually had a tough time with some parts. A lot of the game relies on your memory to solve puzzles and find your way back and forth through mazes. I can see this game being pretty educational for children, as far as learning about problem solving while using hand-eye coordination, and it's pretty fun at the same time.
As you continue to play, your lists of tasks and inventory grows. What's cool is you scroll through the menu like a reading book, and R1 and L1 allow you to flip back and forth through the pages. This allows you to view game options, game completion, current quests and tasks, inventory, and a moves list. You later gain access to a butterfly net to collect wood sprites and use their magic, as well as a slingshot which you will need to shoot down objects and nail attackers from a distance.
With a huge map to roam and numerous tasks to achieve, The Spiderwick Chronicles is definitely a game that takes patience. The slow pace may annoy more action-oriented gamers, but this game is certainly intended for children. I think it may, however, be better suited for a handheld than a console. Because it is so time-consuming, it may be ideal for children in the back seat during a long road trip.
For fans of the film - which I have yet to see - The Spiderwick Chronicles game is actually a quality adaptation intended for children, but challenging enough to be enjoyed by adults. But even though this is a decent video game on its own, how well the film does at the box office will probably determine how well this game sells.
CCC Freelance Writer