Review: The Adventures of Tintin
Sideways scrolling platform games aren’t as popular as they used to be. To maintain interest in a genre, developers need to come up with unique twists that will keep gamers coming back for more. Failing that, a good movie tie-in never hurts. Fortunately, GameLoft has managed to do both with The Adventures of Tintin.
Version Reviewed: 1.04
The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
This 2D platform game mirrors the plot of the recent movie remake. The game tells the story of how Tintin buys a model of the good ship Unicorn, which is desperately wanted by the dastardly Mr Sakharine. As you progress through the game, you are presented with further text-based updates to help you keep track of where you are in the story arc.
Telling the story of the movie
In-keeping with the spirit of the Tintin stories, this is not a predominantly violent game but Tintin can throw a punch or two when he has to. Mostly though, the game requires you to have problem solving skills and good reactions to time your jumps, etc; for one level, you even need to fly a plane! For a 2D platform game, the environments in The Adventures of Tintin are very interactive. Of course, there are the run-of-the-mill platforms and obstacles. However, there are also ledges to climb across and ropes to slide down too. Sometimes the jumping and climbing work make Tintin look like he has taken up Parkour!
Tintin does gymnastics
The game is controlled via an on-screen D-pad and fire-button. The icon on the fire-button changes depending on who you are controlling – but more on that later. The D-pad is ostensibly an eight direction pad, but the downward diagonal buttons are apparently (and oddly) never used. However, as all old-school gamers will be familiar with, UP makes Tintin jump on the spot, and UP-LEFT and UP-RIGHT make him jump sideways.
Describing this game as two dimensional isn’t completely correct – there is, in a loose sense, a third dimension. You can hide behind and in-front of walls and objects, to avoid detection by Sakharine’s henchmen.
Hiding behind parts of the environment
The action takes on a different perspective as you also get to control Tintin’s companions - Snowy the dog and Captain Haddock. For example, early on in the game Tintin is captured while aboard Sakharine’s ship – he’s tied up and left in a cabin to be dealt with later. You are then put in control of Snowy as you find your way around the ship, slipping in and out of air vents, avoiding humans who he’d be no match for. Snowy doesn’t have any offensive capability – but can bark with hilarious and incapacitating consequences. For example, barking behind an unsuspecting guard will cause the poor chap to run off in a panic, and knock himself out on the nearest bulkhead! Snowy is able to hide in things like life rings and coiled ropes, just like Tintin can hide behind walls, etc. It’s a nice twist that makes you play the game differently to how you would as Tintin, who can defend himself when the stealthy approach fails.
Snowy to the rescue!
Whichever character you’re playing, gameplay is saved from becoming too monotonous thanks to set-piece action sequences. In these parts of the game you’re still in control, but have to perform a number of moves in order to trigger a spectacular and improbable chain of events. For example, there is a scene where Tintin has to run and jump, while being chased, to catch a ladder that is being pulled out of his reach. Upon catching the ladder in time, it flips over and entraps the perusing henchmen between its rungs. Snowy has a similar sequence on-board Sakharine’s ship where he gets to roll along in a steel oil drum and bowls over countless henchmen who he’d never be able to defeat otherwise.
Tintin on the run
Every dog has its day!
This game certainly has long-term appeal, thanks to the generous supply of ingenious and devilish platform puzzles. The control system isn’t quite as responsive as I’d like, but a little bit of practice will compensate nicely. The weakest point is the graphics – while I didn’t expect something like Assassin’s Creed – I was surprised at how dated they looked. The lack of detail in the sprites and their animations made the game look like a console game from the late nineties rather than a contemporary premium game.
Still though, I’d suggest you take a look at Tintin if you have a yearning for some old-school platform action and prefer to use your brain rather than your brawn.
You can get “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” from the Nokia Store for £3.00.
Note that the version reviewed here is compatible with most Symbian phones. However, GameLoft also have a HD version that is only compatible with current Nokia Belle handsets (that we have also had issues getting that version to work due to a failed download - watch this space for a full review though.
David Gilson, 11th January 2012
Reviewed by David Gilson at