January 16, 2008

What’s a young culinary rat to do when he is forced from his country home into the streets of Paris? Go invade a famous kitchen to learn how to cook of course! Based off of the Pixar movie of the same name, you take control of Remy the rat in his conquest to create the perfect meal while dodging the occasional cat and health inspector.

Compared to the fact the story was pulled from a decent movie, it lacks that storytelling feel as you are just randomly thrown into different areas where missions must be accomplished to move on to the next area. Really, the plot is just secondary to having you use the mechanics to navigate the area; many times little to no explanation is even given to you as to why you are even there. If it weren’t for the smell cheat, which guides you in the right direction at the push of a shoulder button, you’d be lost.

Each open map is essentially a puzzle to navigate with climbs and timed jumps as you gather tokens to proceed. As Remy, your controls are limited to a few available options which include whipping your tail for an attack, running, jumping and picking up the occasional item to move elsewhere. The game makes use of these mechanics nicely using a jump platform mechanic to land on a series of hooks or a broomstick handle to get to your objective. In addition, the PS3 game features motion sensing SIXAXIS control by allowing you to balance across a tight wire; this feature feels like it was put in at the last minute just to exploit SIXAXIS, but at least it succeeds in breaking up the gaming monotony.

The difficulty is a matter of debate; for a game aimed at kids it is truly unforgiving. It is very easy to die in this game. If the fire doesn’t get you then the fall will, and many times that means repeating a long section just to get back to same place you fell. On top of that, many jumps require a certain amount of precision that I had a difficult time landing, so for kids I could see this being particularly frustrating. Particularly brutal are occasional chase sequences which have you running towards the screen; you don’t have any time to avoid the hidden obstacles just out of view until you are on top of them. A lot of fun sections become the opposite due to slightly flawed execution choices.

Graphics are pretty good on the PS3 as the game does a good job emulating the cartoon nature of the movie. If anything this is the selling point for the movie fans out there looking to get more Remy action. The game also features mini-games which extend the shelf life of the title as you gather the necessary tokens to unlock them.

Historically, movie games tend to be the bane of the average gamer, never living up to the potential the movie set forth, and Ratatouille is no different. While it isn’t a horrible game, it just isn’t as fun as it could be.

Score: 3/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.