|System: Wii, DS|
|Dev: Monkey Bar Games|
|Pub: D3 Publisher|
|Release: December 7, 2010|
|Screen Resolution: 480p|
by Tony Capri
Yogi Bear returns in an all-new movie featuring a mix of live action and CG animation. To celebrate his return to the limelight, Yogi and his cuddly sidekick, Boo-Boo, take a detour on Wii. The big-screen movie looks like it could be fun for younger audiences, but does its video-game counterpart make a worthwhile companion for fans?
Ranger Smith has lost his collection of animal photos. So, Yogi volunteers to travel through Jellystone Park and snap shots of the various wildlife. Thus, your gameplay impetus is born. Yogi Bear on Wii is a straightforward, side-scrolling platformer, one where story takes a backseat to simple craft. The Yogi Bear sensibility from the cartoons of yesteryear comes across surprisingly well, but it might not be a franchise well worth remembering.
In terms of structure, Yogi Bear on Wii takes some obvious cues from New Super Mario Bros. Wii. Areas of the park each contain several platforming levels, and the levels themselves are bite-size. Each level contains three hidden merit badges, and you'll need to collect a set number of badges before being able to move on to the next area of the park. Unfortunately, the level design isn't great, and being forced to retread levels will likely become a source of contention for many players.
Rather than build upon the natural forms one might find in a national park, Yogi Bear slaps blunt platforms conspicuously before you, and the path ahead is always obvious. Yogi can jump, crawl, belly slide, and belly flop. Like a typical Mario side-scroller, there are various enemies patrolling levels, and getting hit by the wildlife means instant death. You're given a finite number of lives, but there are checkpoints sprinkled generously throughout each level.
After the first hour with the game, it hit me: I was basically playing Pitfall! from the Atari 2600. Sure, there are definitely a few new elements here and there – scaling vines, rotating platforms, etc. – but everything from the mechanics, to the general selection of actions you're called upon to execute make Yogi Bear on Wii almost a spiritual successor to that now-classic video game.
Pitfall! for the Atari 2600 was released in 1982, and back then, it was absolutely the best thing the system had to offer. Fast-forward to the present, however, and Yogi Bear on Wii feels like a museum piece. Yogi's movements are rigid, the collision detection and A.I. are all over the place, and the platforming challenge and creativity are laughable at best.
As I delved deeper into Yogi Bear on Wii, I was expecting more variety. What I got was more Pitfall! Jumping on the backs of turtles before they sink down beneath the water, evading flying fish – the level design isn't particularly bad or broken; it's just archaic in every sense of the word. Occasionally, I'd be tasked with a bit of stealth, hiding behind picnic tables or trees while campers patrolled to and fro. But the platform structures stay basically the same throughout, and there's simply not enough variety or panache to make Yogi Bear an interesting or enjoyable romp.