GAME NAME: Brave: The Video Game
DEVELOPER(S): Behaviour Interactive
PUBLISHER(S): Disney Interactive Studios
PLATFORM(S): Xbox 360
RELEASE DATE(S): 27 July 2012
Playing movie tie-in games is a little bit like playing Russian roulette, except with five bullets in the gun and one empty chamber. Most of the time it ends badly, and you swear a little and maybe kick a chair over in anger as the developers have once again butchered an opportunity to carry a great concept to another medium. But once in a blue moon you find yourself sitting in front of the game smiling. And you’re smiling because all the chairs and knee high furniture near you will remain unscathed and so will your feet.
Brave: The Video Game is one of those rare pulls of the trigger that ends in surprised relief instead of a splattered mess. Developers Behaviour Interactive obviously have had some experience in kicking various small tables and chairs out of anger, and it seems they don’t think it’s cool. Instead what they think is cool is a game with some solid gameplay to offer that faithfully recreates the experience of the film. Brave: The Video Game is a title that would be a fun platformer even if you never see the movie, relying on solid controls and vibrant visuals as well as great voice work by Kelly Macdonald who voices Princess Merida in the movie to drive the game. Brave: The Video Game doesn’t have to rely on the advertising of the film to warrant a purchase but instead it can rely on the fact that its actually fun to play.
The game will remind you of similar platforming adventures such as the recent Trine 2. The controls are set up very similarly, slash your sword with one of the face buttons and flick one of the analog joysticks in a direction to fire an arrow in the flicked direction. It is simple for the little sprogs to pick up and play and works with the game really well. The platforming is broken up with puzzle segments that see you take control of three little bears. These puzzle sections help mix things up a little but won’t stress adult brains much. The thinking sections should be fairly easy for kids to figure out.
Other segments that break up the platforming are arena-type levels that see you play as a bear. These are the weakest part of the game because the bear only has two attacks and the repetition in the waves of bad guys sinks in deep after your third arena fight. There are also some light RPG elements with coin collecting leading to purchasing better weapons and upgrades as well as a basic skill tree for unlocking enhanced abilities. There is also local co-op that will help stretch the slightly short experience out a bit. The only real downside to Brave: The Video Game is that its frame rate struggles a bit in certain areas. Otherwise there is not much to complain about.
Brave: The Video Game is not winning game of the year by anyone’s yardstick but it is a fantastic journey for kids to go on whether they have seen the movie or not. There are lots of terrible movie tie-in games out there, but this isn’t one of them. Your feet and knee high furniture are safe…for now.