As comic books go, Tintin has a very particular fanbase. The adventures of the boy reporter have a peculiar sense of humour and style to them, making them something of an acquired taste, as reviews of the recent film will testify.
The Gameloft-produced game closely follows the plot of the movie and repeats a lot of its sins, but it does make admirable use of its platform and is still sure to please fans of the movie.
The first thing that we did upon playing The Adventures of Tintin HD is abandon any notion of this game belonging to a recognisable genre.
Although it has elements of a platformer, a reflex shooter, a Cut The Rope clone, and many other game types besides, Tintin is actually an amalgamation of these that feels more akin to an interactive movie.
This isn’t a flaw. In fact, taken at face value, Tintin does a lot with the technology at hand. Gameloft has used the touchscreen to good effect by scattering coins and puzzle pieces throughout the levels and encouraging you to tap and slide your finger in order to collect them. The motion controls are also fairly well exploited in later levels.
It has a staccato pacing to it at times, thanks to the switches between the many game ‘modes’. For example, at one point the game may have you crawling through the sleeping quarters of unfriendly sailors (using the D-pad as a useful alternative to the virtual joystick), bringing to mind a traditional stealth title.
The next moment the game will alert the guards in a cut-scene and you’ll be forced to poke and swipe the screen in a series of quick-time events in order to escape. The game is full of quick turns like this, although they are often punctuated by unnecessary explanation or lengthy exposition of the story.
The Adventures of Tie-ins
On one hand, this is irritating. We found ourselves skipping a few of the non-interactive movies out of frustration.
On the other hand, it feels natural for a game based on a wholly cinematic experience to be designed like this. The real annoyance is that the D-pad is so essential for movement, meaning you have the pad out at all times. This makes constantly reaching up with your thumbs with the phone fully extended something of a pain in the wrist.
There are other small problems. The game sometimes doesn’t register downward swipes at valves and switches very well, for instance. But Tintin has just as many appealing features. The absurdist physical humour is still detectable – even in spite of the atrocious voice acting – and there’s a strong airplane-flying sequence with some more clever use of the touchscreen. It’s clear that The Adventures of Tintin HD was thoughtfully produced (though perhaps not quite as specialised for Xperia Play) and remains one of the better movie tie-ins.