Wild Earth: African Safari Review
Wild Earth: African Safari box art
System: Wii, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Super X Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Majesco 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: April 22, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-3 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

The animal subjects of your photo excursions are quite varied, and you'll learn a lot about many of the different species throughout the game. You'll encounter plenty of lions, crocodiles, hippos, cheetahs, elephants, and giraffes, but there's also ostriches, leopards, bats, frogs, hyrax, warthogs, rhinoceros, wildebeests, and many other photogenic creatures lurking in the numerous habitats you'll trudge through. Each creature will react differently to your presence, and often you'll see them interacting with one another - in both friendly and non-friendly ways. Like in the human world, drama and conflicts in the wild kingdom make for some spectacular images.

Wild Earth: African Safari screenshot

Running around the underbrush like a fool while taking pictures of wary beasts left and right may sound a bit drab, but it's actually quite interesting at first. Often you'll be required to take a picture of a specific animal, but you'll also have to take them while they exhibit certain behaviors or engage in different activities. Seeking the animals out and setting up your shot is all part of the fun. Stand too far away, and you'll have trouble nailing the shot; but get too close, and you'll find yourself facing the business end of Mother Nature's charging, snarling finest. An on-screen meter tracks how much you've disturbed nature during your photographic pursuits. Ticking off the native creatures too frequently will lower the meter and eventually cause the mission to fail. Fortunately, taking successful photographs will bring it back up into the green zone, and it never really becomes much of an issue unless you're particularly careless.

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Creatures and environments look good at a glance, but they don't hold up quite as well to closer inspection. Essentially, the graphics either seem a tad dated or the creature models behave a little strangely when you zoom in close. However, the game's target audience will likely care little, since the animals do sound and act as they would in the wild, and it's convincing enough. The two narrators are occasionally funny and they provide lots of interesting factoids about the animals, their behaviors, and their habitats. Parents should appreciate knowing their kids will be soaking in some good information from playing. Kids will love the gross-out fun of photographing large mounds of elephant poop and watching one giraffe chew on another's posterior.

Wild Earth offers a fascinating interactive romp through nature, but there are a few issues players will have to deal with on their adventures. You are free to explore wherever you please, but progressing from one grouping of photo assignments to the next during a mission requires you to be at a specific place to trigger the event. If you happen to miss the sweet spot, it's easy to end up wandering around for a lengthy time unsure of where to go next or what to do to move forward. That said, there's a little too much hand-holding in terms of the linear nature of each mission. You're basically stuck moving from one area to the next to snap pictures based on prompts from the narrators. Another problem occurs when the screen gets too clogged up with information. For example, at one point the bars of dialogue text cut off the lower third of the screen, the upper right chunk was primarily obscured by a recently snapped picture, and the upper left portion was blocked by an extremely long list of secondary photo objectives.

For an all ages title that clearly caters to younger players, Wild Earth: African Safari is substantially entertaining on the Wii. Taking pictures of anything you like in any way you choose is excellent. Just be sure not to step in any elephant droppings.

By Nathan Meunier
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.4
Graphics
Lots of animals to photograph and interesting environments to explore, but the graphics are a little disappointing when you get a close look at things.
3.5
Control
The main game controls work well, but the quite a few of the mini-games are nearly broken by poor control implementation.
4.4
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Superb African drumming and other music provided by Talking Drum Records. Animal sound effects are realistic.
3.8

Play Value
There's a lot to explore.

3.7
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Complete 11 picture-taking missions with both primary and secondary objectives. Investigate the bold hyena during a midday thunderstorm. Observe gentle giraffes in the hidden valley from the aerial view of a helicopter. Meet a family of elephants as they take care of their young, etc.
  • An exclusive new Safari Game mode only for the Wii lets you use the Wii Remote to play from the animal's perspective in 11 different games
  • Includes more than 30 African animals including: cheetah, crocodile, crowned crane, elephant, flamingo, frog, bat, gazelle, giraffe, hippo, hyrax, leopard, lion, ostrich, oxpecker, pangolin, rhinoceros, meerkat, tortoise, trout, vulture, warthog, wildebeest, and zebra
  • Brand new cooperative multiplayer mode gives players the choice to drive the vehicle or snap photos while playing with anywhere from 1 to 3 friends.
  • Photos collected are placed into an animated slide show presentation of informative articles. In addition, players can select their own favorite photos to keep in their portfolio.
  • The Impact Meter tracks how much of a disturbance you are to the natural habitat. If you disturb too many animals or get too close to them, your Wii Remote will rumble at varying degrees, making it harder to take a steady picture. If the Impact Meter becomes completely depleted, you fail the mission.
  • Experience accurately presented flora and terrain from the Serengeti National Park in Africa, at different times of day and in varied weather. Grasses, shrubs, flowers, kopjes (rocky outcroppings), streams, and lakes provide a life-like experience and terrific photo opportunities.
  • Features hours of inspiring soundtrack from the world music label Talking Drum Records in Santa Monica, CA


  • Screenshots / Images
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