Game Reviews

Wreck-it Ralph

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| Wreck-it Ralph
Wreck-it Ralph
| Wreck-it Ralph

One of the strangest phenomena surrounding smartphone gaming is the way movie tie-in games have stopped being utter tripe on iOS and Android.

There are still examples of phoned-in advergame junk on those two platforms, of course, but by and large movie games on mobile have finally managed to shake off the shackles of mediocrity that have been bound to tie-in games on home console for years.

Sadly for all concerned, Wreck-it Ralph on iOS marks a return to the dark old days of underwhelming gaming tie-ins.

And when you consider the possibilities of the licence - the Wreck-It Ralph film is set within the digital world, and features characters from arcade games both real and imagined - it's hard to fathom quite how the developer could muck this adaptation up so much.


The premise, at least, is reasonably interesting. Rather than simply play through the plot of the movie, you're a kid in the arcade where the main characters reside, given the chance to play one of three different cabinets (Fix-it Felix Jr., Sugar Rush Sweet Climber, and Hero's Duty).

Fix-it Felix Jr. is a retro-styled mini-game in which you clean up the mess Wreck-it Ralph causes as he stomps up a building. It's reminiscent of Donkey Kong, but it's far simpler, both in execution and difficulty, than Nintendo's arcade classic.

Using an on-screen joystick, you jump along the window ledges of an apartment block, fixing the windows Ralph has smashed. Shutters, ducks, and the rocks that Ralph is hurling down at you all impede your progress.

Sugar Rush Sweet Climber, meanwhile, is a Doodle Jump clone in which you bounce up candy cane trees, tilting your iOS device to land on platforms, and collecting sweets as you go.

There's no innovation on show here whatsoever, and nothing to set this micro-game apart from all the other, much better Doodle Jump-esque titles that are already out there.


The final part of the Wreck-it Ralph iOS package is Hero's Duty, a top-down twin-stick shooter in which you take on wave after wave of green glowing bird creatures.

It's probably the most entertaining of the three mini-games on offer, but it's still lacking something to set it apart from all the other top-down twin-stick shooters on the App Store.

As in the other two micro-games, you can challenge friends to try and beat your high score on Facebook in Hero's Duty, but it's unlikely that they're going to respond / care.

There are power-ups to pick up that boost the power of your laser cannon, and with each subsequent wave the enemies you're blasting become tougher. Unfortunately, the stick you use to aim doesn't work like it should, acting more like a weird roller ball controller.

It makes for a clumsy experience, and stifles a lot of the enjoyment you should be getting from blasting things to bits. And, in a way, it sums up the entire experience of playing Wreck-it Ralph.

I'm gonna ralph

Rather than one decent game, here we have three mediocre mini ones. All of which, with a bit more care and attention, could have become interesting diversions in their own right.

Instead, we're left with a pack that's unlikely to hold your attention for very long.

Wreck-it Ralph wants to return you to the halcyon days of the arcade, but instead it drags you kicking and screaming back to an era when movie games were all a bit rubbish, and that's a massive shame.

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Wreck-it Ralph

A trip back to the bad old days of mediocre film tie-ins, Wreck-it Ralph isn't abysmal, but it's unlikely it'll keep you entertained for very long
Harry Slater
Harry Slater
Harry used to be really good at Snake on the Nokia 5110. Apparently though, digital snake wrangling isn't a proper job, so now he writes words about games instead.