The Adventures of Tintin: An Engaging Whimsical Experience

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Adventure

Since the early days of the iTunes store, Gameloft has been one of the early innovators in bringing a wide array of games to the iOS audience. In that time, the company has had its share of critics—most of it undeserved—from a rather fickle audience. However, I’d be hard pressed to find any criticisms about its latest release The Adventures of Tintin, arguably the most beautiful game in the store. From the intelligent intermingling of game elements and controls to the high-production 3D animation and lively soundtrack, Tintin is a complete game overflowing with charm and personality.

For those not familiar with Tintin, you’re in for a treat. Tintin is a cub reporter where the story always finds him. In the game, Tintin is on the trail to discover the secret of the Unicorn, a journey that will take him—and you—halfway across the world. In addition to playing as Tintin, you also play his dog Snowy, Captain Haddock and Sir Francis Haddock. Now, if you’re familiar with Gameloft titles such as Dungeon Hunter and Hero of Sparta, then you’ll feel somewhat at home with Tintin. As you travel with Tintin, you’ll collect coins that can be used to purchase access to puzzles. In addition, puzzle pieces appear along the way that you’ll use to solve puzzles.

The primary control in Tintin is a control stick which is used to navigate. Depending on the scene, action/situational buttons such as run and stealth appear. Because of the variety in the puzzles and scenes, touch functionality is also included as well as accelerometer controls. In general, the controls are spot on and relatively intuitive to use which should make the game widely accessible to younger players.

One of the great things about Tintin is the assortment of puzzles which involves switching between the various characters. It’s almost a microcosm of the games in the iTunes store. There are various parts in Tintin where it’s very much a platformer as you navigate through certain scenarios. Other times, logic is the objective where you cut crates in a specific sequence to open boxes or eliminate pirates. The sword scenes with Captain Haddock are engaging since moves—attack, block, dodge—are executed via swipes on the screen.

While there is an assortment of puzzles and brain teasers, they aren’t overly challenging nor taxing. In fact, they tended to be on the easy side, but since this is a game aimed at the younger set, so this can be forgiven. The same goes for the fight scenes where I found that various attacks and movement could be accomplished successfully without much accuracy on my part. On the other hand, Tintin uses nice little touches to keep you engaged such as making players wipe fog of the window to get a better view.

Having said that, Tintin is a game of exploration, and it’s remarkable what Gameloft accomplished. The 3D animation is extremely well done. Characters and background scenes are beautifully illustrated, and the use of 3D and shadowing effectively adds depth to each scene. Someone even commented to me that they didn’t realize I was playing a game. As with these types of games, static comic book scenes and cinematic pages commonly used to tell the story, and Tintin is no different. Loading times are creatively replaced by these scenes so mostly they aren’t an issue especially for those who are impatient.

The voiceovers in general are more than decent, but the soundtrack for me really adds to the charm of the game. Typically, I turn down a game’s background music over time because of the irritation factor. However, I’d recommend leaving the music on during gameplay because it provides just the right touch.

Even with the large file size and the high-quality graphics and animation, I didn’t experience much lag on my iPad. On occasion, voiceovers didn’t sync correctly along with some stuttering in the animation, but nothing that took away from the game.

Depending on your age and level of experience, Tintin will likely not have much replay value. Most games with a film-in tend to be very linear, and that’s what you’ll get with Tintin. There’s no digression allowed in the game and scenes and puzzles come as they are. But, the game does provides plenty of content requires hours of play to complete. For me, I completed the game in roughly 8 hours over several days, but I was thoroughly entertained during that time.

Tintin is a wonderful game that should appeal to players young and old. Gameloft has produced a benchmark game especially for those with a film tie-in. If this doesn’t satisfy critics, I don’t think anything will. Capturing the personality and whimsy of the movie and its characters, Tintin comes highly recommended.

Albie Meter: 4.5 Stars (high-quality game with visuals that will keep you entertained for hours when you’re not showing it off; broad audience appeal with diverse puzzles and game elements; limited replay value with puzzles geared towards a younger audience)

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