Like the nefarious Count Olaf, I’m always happy to foist my menial tasks off on those minors entrusted to my care. So when the Xbox version of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events came my way for review, I saw an opportunity to take the easy way out, and earn some much needed points with the younger generation. Having convinced myself, I summoned my daughter and nephew and handed the game over for their consideration.
As it turns out, both of them are big fans of this Lemony Snicket character and there was a fair amount of excitement at the prospect of an early “Christmas present.” While they played, I eavesdropped and watched...
The game looks all right, but it won’t win any awards. The color palette is a bit muddy, which is appropriate for a game set in a creepy old house and surrounding countryside, but doesn’t do much to make the game pop out at you. The animation is a little stiff and there are some considerable clipping issues at times. My daughter thought it was quite humorous to see rats disappearing into a brick wall but neither of us thought it added much to the game.
The sound fares better with some good sound effects, effective voice acting and relatively inoffensive music. I even found myself mildly amused at a few of the jokes here and there, which is a plus. If I was amused, your average ten year old should find plenty to like.
The gameplay is a mix of elements including 2D and 3D platforming, simple shooting sequences, exploration, and combining various odds and ends to create inventions that are then used to navigate to new areas or solve simple puzzles. It’s all set at a fairly appropriate difficulty level for its target age group, so older gamers will find it rather easy. The bosses were laughably predictable, even for the kids.
Both the kids really liked the game and played it well past my endurance to observe. After they finally ran themselves down I took a spin through some of the game and found it to be a pleasant, if overly simple, adventure/platformer. Despite the presence of familiar characters and settings, it isn’t very true to the original story. It may well be closer to the story of the movie, which is what the game is actually based on. The kids I used were fans of the books, but were able to overlook the inconsistencies with the original and enjoy the game for what it is – a solid, if unremarkable, book to movie to game conversion. If your kids, like mine, can’t get enough of these Unfortunate Events, you could do a lot worse than sticking this game under the tree for them. It might not impress you, but they’ll enjoy it.