TinTin arrives in the states finally and I had some fun with this one. Although I wouldn’t say its for everyone, but for the targeted audience (kids-teens) it will do the job. If you haven’t seen anything about TinTin yet (the movie trailer is advertising like crazy), here’s a short synopsis about the game:

The whimsical tale of a young reporter’s quest for a legendary treasure comes to life in this game meant to be a true companion to The Adventures of Tintin movie. Built with help from filmmakers Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson, the whole experience gets as close to the movie as possible. Solve an incredible mystery as you hunt for lost scrolls that lead to a bounty of sunken treasure, playing solo or with a friend, with or without the motion control of Xbox Kinect. Play as Tintin, Captain Haddock, Snowy, and three unlockable characters as you fly planes, fight ancient knights, and more in a true adventure for the ages.

Overview

TinTin is mainly a platformer game but has some extras added on which are truly welcome to this genre. I consider platformers to be the Mario type, Crash Bandicoot, Sonic, etc. games.  The Kinect features are added on so it’s not required to enjoy the game. I did just end up going through the entire game as if you want this solely for Kinect features, look elsewhere, but if your children like the movie, then more than likely they will like this game.

The Menu

The menu consists of 4 areas, plus an options menu accessed via the start button. Kinect isn’t required at all so you can use the controller for everything. The Kinect menu is the normal hover and lock method, although I’m not sure if it’s the dashboard update or the game itself, the responsiveness seems to be drastically increased as well as the controls (this is the first Kinect title I’ve played since the update) but it’s a good thing. Anyhow, the menu consists of TinTin, TinTin and Haddock, Challenges & Kinect and Bonus. The options are normal with Subtitles, Credits and Brightness, although they did put the game manual on it which is an illustrated instructional book which I did think it was good addition, why waste money printing them up when you can just throw them in the games 🙂

TinTin

This is the main adventure mode of the game. Some may say the campaign is short, but I completed it in 5 hours with mildly looking for everything. It does need a second play through with possibly more time in order to find all of the golden crabs. I feel the time frame is fine for a movie title, if it just dragged on, it would be too long and irritating, but where they succeeded in the story mode is that finally, they have normal cut scenes instead of some static images with voiceovers as we haven’t had a good movie game yet. I haven’t seen the movie, but after playing the full story, I feel like I’ve seen the movie and it seems to be a good one at that. The game served its job, it made me understand the movie and I do want to see it with the kids, but even more so, the kids are really excited about TinTin now having never heard of him before.

The story mode has a mix of everything the entire game has to offer. There are a total of 32 chapters, although some chapters are just cut scenes. The number of actual levels, if I remember correctly there are 6 or 7, but again, they aren’t dragged on so you don’t really get bored, especially since they mix up all kinds of things in the levels. The adventure mode has some platform levels with fighting/sneaking/swimming/flying, plane flying/dogfighting, sword fighting, racing, and some puzzles. I’ll talk about each briefly next.

What I think I liked about the game is it seems Ubisoft mixed a bunch of their games basic principles in this one. If you look at it like I do, the platformer sections are more like the OLD Prince of Persia in my opinion, where you can jump up to ledges and jump across chasm’s and what not. You can also sneak upon opponents and take them out, even though its very basic, it’s more of a Splinter Cell/Assassin’s Creed feature. The fighting is fairly generic but TinTin will automatically counter attacks at the right moments so it’s a little more than basic punching. There is no kicking though but you have other attacks with using the environments objects as well such as throwing pots and balls at them.

The flying portion of the game really reminded me of a very basic version of Blazing Angels. A note, if you are into flying games, they did include the option the invert the controls which is more natural to me, but the flying missions are the only area you can change it. Some of the flying is just getting from Point A to B, another has you flying through some rings to line up for photos and another is dog fighting, although the controller version doesn’t have any type of radar/enemy indicator, so it may take you an extra minute to find a bad guy. One of the chapters requires you to shoot some turrets on an airship to blow it up, so it’s a good mixture. No bombing runs in it though, oh well, can’t have it all.

The sword fighting is really generic, it seems Puss In Boots still has that niche locked up. You can parry left/right and up and swing left/right and up and down, but you can’t really move your character so it is really basic, but unfortunately the simplicity leads to some boredom. They did add in the normal baseball type with swinging back items back at enemies, but it’s still not enough to spruce it up. Certain sword fights also queue up QuickTime events with just requiring you to swing specific directions but that’s really the jist of it.

The sidecar sections consist of a racing with a motorcycle with a sidecar. Some you are escaping, others you have to blow up a truck as quickly as possible and the others are just to shoot the bad guys with your slingshot and some rocks. You do gain turbo by pushing forward on the stick after a jump, but the only other control is being able to brake. Again, it’s simplicity at its best, probably fine for the younger ones.

The puzzles in the game aren’t overly challenging but they do make you think for a minute. There’s 2 different styles from what I experienced, one is use your hands to figure stuff out such as turning the masts on these model ships you are trying to find. The others are within the platform levels themselves, such as boss fights, or some enemies you have to hit from behind and have to figure out how to do it, once again, basic but good for kids. This game is not as challenging as some of the Mario titles, but it’s a good introduction to kids if they don’t know how to figure stuff out.

I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, so that is the majority of the story mode. The game is very authentic including music and voices. The graphics could have been a little better since the movie graphics look incredible, but it is what it is.

TinTin and Haddock

This is probably the better portion of the game. This section really reminded me of some past Mario titles. Basically you are in Haddock’s dream world and you can play this mode single player or cooperatively with a friend. The coop mode does enable you to help each other out, such as giving a player a boost to jump really high. There are a total of 21 levels plus some bonus levels which are just coin collecting. The way this is set up is you want to collect certain items (if I recall, there are 6 of them), as well as 3 gear parts, and 2 outfits per level to unlock everything in the game. Where they get you is, if you like to collect/complete games, you have to play through this mode once to fully unlock your characters as some items can only be retrieved by certain characters so it does force you to play through it at least twice which I logged about 4 hours and only made it about halfway through. Also you collect coins and what not purchase new things. If you do get hit by an enemy, you will lose some of your coins which reminded me of Sonic. There really is a mixture of games in this one title which I thought was pretty cool.

They are all platformer style levels, but some are pretty challenging so you really have to think about how to complete them. Some of the levels are boss levels as well which you have to figure out how to defeat the bosses. It really is a neat addition to the game and it really sucks you into the TinTin world because its fun. You start in certain sections of the house and you have to beat levels in order to unlock doors, and these doors are your gateway to a particular dream world. You can also buy items for your characters in this prep area, such as big head which is pretty funny, invisibility outfits, and others. There’s quite a lot to unlock in here as well as characters have multiple features you can collect. The gears you collect unlock your bonus levels, which are just grandfather clocks you go into. I wasn’t sure how to explain this mode further, so I just made a video of a portion of a level, check it out below:

Challenges & Kinect

This is the only section that has Kinect mini-games and it really feels like it was added on. The game isn’t being advertised as a Kinect title which is why I feel the Kinect portion is more of a bonus to the overall game itself. Anyhow, the challenges, I think, are primarily for achievements as half of them are solely based on challenges. There are 3 different groups of challenges and I’ll break each one down as usual.

Sword Challenges

Sword Fighting is probably the most generic one of them all. There are 4 difficulty levels for all of the challenges, Easy, Regular, Advanced and Expert. You have to beat each corresponding difficulty to unlock the next. Sword Fighting only offers one type of gameplay with the 4 different difficulties so it’s probably the easiest out of them all. You just have to get certain scores to proceed. Scores are rated with a bronze, silver and gold system. However, there is a blue/white medal which I believe is platinum, but it is better than gold. What is neat though, is the controller portion of the challenges and the Kinect portions are scored separately, but there aren’t any achievements or anything requiring you to play the Kinect challenges and whichever method you play, counts towards your achievements.

The Kinect version of the challenge is very basic, same controls as the controller but it does get boring after a minute. Here’s a video of the Kinect portion, I left the instructions in the video so you can understand how it plays. It is really precise though with just barely moving as I displayed in the video, so at least it works. Anyhow, check out it:

Flying Challenges

In the controller mode, there are 3 flying challenges. The first is a photo shoot. What you have to do is fly through a series of targets/rings and then the last one is a photo. You have to collect a certain amount of photos before finishing the level which is timed. Your goal is to do it as fast possible. Your plane also has a turbo system, which has 2 stages. Depending on how good you are, you want to use turbo the entire time. To do so, when the bar goes down to the second stage, you have to re-engage it and the second stage bar indicator will get smaller. I suppose you could technically turbo the level about 3/4 of the way through, but to fly and pay attention to the rings it does seem really difficult.

The Kinect version is the same except you use gestures instead of the controller buttons. The controls are realistic so it makes for a better experience, but they are sensitive. You can also barrel roll in the Kinect portion which I didn’t seem to be able to do with the controller. Here’s a video of the Kinect side of it, again with instructions so you can get an idea:

The next challenge is a capture the flag style. Unfortunately this mode is not available with Kinect. You have to race to get a flag and then race it back to drop it off at your base or whatever. There are enemies flying around to mess with you as well. This would have been a pretty cool xbox live game I would think. It’s based on scoring again, so the more flags you capture, the more you score. I’m not sure why a Kinect version wasn’t included as it could have been pretty fun.

The last challenge is just straight up dogfighting. This is probably the best mode of flying altogether. Your objective is just to shoot enemies down, but as the difficulty increases, the types of enemies do as well. You are scored based on kills, and it is timed as well. The Kinect version does actually make it better in my opinion, as you have to target your enemy and keep the reticule on them for a few seconds. You then enter machine gun mode and you have to do a gesture like a mounted gun would give you recoil. It’s actually pretty cool in my opinion. Here’s a video of it:

Sidecar Challenges

The first challenge is racing. It’s simply drive around the track as fast as you can. The controller version is 2 laps, Kinect is only 1. It’s really basic, but here’s the Kinect video of it:

The second challenge is you have to drive, and Haddock will shoot a main target. You have to avoid exploding barrels and bad guys while trying to take it out. The Kinect version is a little more challenging because of the controls, but it works for what it is. The closer you get to the target, the faster Haddock shoots at it so your objective is to stay as close as possible to it. Here’s a video of the Kinect portion:

The last challenge is just more shooting, but you get to do it this time. The controller version is pretty dumbed down and you can just keep button mashing and eventually beat each level. The Kinect version requires a little more skill as you have a limited supply of ammo until you reload. You reload but dropping both hands, messing up your aiming as you have to re-adjust when you bring your arm back up. It’s a little better with Kinect in my opinion. Here’s a video of the Kinect version:

Bonus

The bonus section is just a library of everything that you can unlock. There is background information about every character, artwork and videos although some of the videos are just from the story mode of the game. There are a total of 134 items to unlock though so it may take some time.

Uplay

Uplay is in this one with the normal 10, 20, 30 and 40 Uplay points. I didn’t really see anything worth unlocking, but if you are trying to achieve completion on it, you will have to unlock at least 2 of them. They included these items this time around:

  • 10U – An exclusive TinTin theme
  • 20U – Pirates Costume Pack – These are additional William and Rackham costumes for TinTin and Haddock
  • 30U – Bosses Costume Pack – This unlocks Max Bird, Allen and G. Birds costumes that TinTin, Haddock and the Thomson Twins can wear
  • 40U – Uplay Emerald – This is different, an emerald shows up in each level of the TinTin & Haddock Coop mode that gives you an extra 3000 coins.

Conclusion

For a kids game, it’s one of the better titles. For Kinect features, it lacks them unfortunately. I would recommend this game only if it’s for your kids and they love TinTin, otherwise you may want to wait a bit to check it out or if platformers aren’t your thing, you may not like this game at all. Unfortunately we had to wait in the states for this game to arrive, but Ubisoft hasn’t issued any updates for it or any add-ons since it’s been out in Europe so after you do complete everything, I don’t see anything else happening with this title. There also doesn’t seem to be any hint of DLC either so this title is what it is. What I did gather from this experience though, is I’m not quite sure if platformers are made for Kinect. They may have to stick with controllers unless someone comes up with a different idea for it.


This review is based on a retail copy of the Xbox 360 version of The Adventures of TinTin
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