Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PC, PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Ubisoft Shanghai 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Ubisoft 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sep. 15, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

As the summer comes to a close, the weather is changing from bad to worse. Columbia Pictures has it raining produce, and Ubisoft now brings us their latest game in support of the movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Does this Wii adventure build the perfect storm for fans of the 3D, animated flick, or is this sauce in need of a bit more spice?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot

Considering the premise, folks probably shouldn't go into this game expecting too much in terms of story. The dialogue is sparse and generic, but it's also a comfortable fit for the game's mission-based structure.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is broken up into 20 separate levels, each lasting roughly 15-20 minutes, give or take. The brief nature of missions makes it an easy game to pick up and play, and the gameplay is straightforward and well-crafted.

You play as a scientist named Flint, the creator of the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator - FLDSMDFR for short. The FLDSMDFR is actually the source of all your troubles throughout the game, and each mission has you chopping, melting, punching, and generally combating food that's raining from the skies. The game has a sort of Zombies Ate My Neighbors (SNES) vibe to it, and the level design, though completely linear in nature, is also reminiscent of that quirky LucasArts classic.

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The controls are very straightforward, making use of both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk. The analog stick moves your character, A to jump, and B to use whatever utensil you've got handy. You can switch out utensils later on in the game using the Z-trigger, but each level uses a predetermined set of tools.

Handling Flint feels tight and comfortable, and movement and collision detection are pretty spot on. Throughout a given level, you'll be required to melt giant scoops of ice cream, chop broccoli or slice over-sized gummy bears who will attempt to lop off chunks of your health by dashing into you.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot

Flint automatically locks onto nearby enemies and objects, but only certain utensils work on specific types of food. For instance, if an ice-cream sandwich is blocking your path, you'll first have to punch one cookie end with the "Bigacious Pow," then melt the ice-cream center with the "Hot Enougher," and finish the other side off with one last punch. Since broccoli is a healthy food, you can slice it with the "Chopper-er" for a health pick-up.

The game's full of such mechanics, and they're varied up nicely. If there's a puddle of hot sauce barring the way forward, just toss a slab of butter in there with the "Forkamajigger," and the burning pool will quickly wash away. Occasionally you'll come upon a dead end, but by collecting and then spraying honey on certain walls, you'll be able to climb their sticky surfaces in order to progress through the level.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot

Though there are only a handful of gadgets at your disposal, most levels are fairly interesting from start to finish. That being said, the level objectives are mostly the same for each mission: "clear a path for said citizens," or "save a buddy," etc. You also won't be pushed very hard in terms of difficulty, and the game rarely calls for you to think too far outside the box.

Screenshots / Images
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot - click to enlarge Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot - click to enlarge Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot - click to enlarge Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs screenshot - click to enlarge

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