Stuart Little 3 : Big Photo Adventure
Developer: Magenta
Publisher: Sony
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1
Words By:

When given the “opportunity” to review a Stuart Little game I approached it with a bit of trepidation. The first thing that struck me was “Stuart Little 3? I don’t remember that being on at the movies?” Normally I am badgered into taking the kids to the latest film release and wading round the house ankle deep in “themed” toys from fast food outlets. So I checked the Extras and found a trailer for the movie, which proudly proclaimed “now premiering on DVD”, loosely translated as “straight to video” for the oldsters, which helped things to make sense.

I have seen the previous Stuart Little movies so knew that Hugh Laurie pulled off being a Yank, and Michael J Fox pulled off being a 3 inch high leading character, typecasting on both fronts methinks.

Anyway I thought I’d have a blast on the game myself before unleashing it on the kids, to see if it contained appropriate content. After a few cut-scenes to set up the beginning of the game you find yourself in the garden of the familiar house. Your basic mission for the overall game is to replace photographs in George’s album that you have clumsily ruined. A bit tenuous but most kid’s games never have an overly complex plot.

The tutorial of the game is intertwined with the first level so you are spoon fed advice about missions and controls as you progress. You play in a third person (mouse) viewpoint as you wander around the backyard. Hovering icons identify different tasks you need to complete. There are ten possible photos to be taken on the first level but you only need to take about seven to progress to the next area.

Controls are fairly fluid and allow you to roam freely around the area. Think: GTA but smaller, nicer, more friendly, more pleasant, more colourful. Therefore ok for the kids to play unattended.

Like most cameras these days the batteries don’t last two minutes so your camera will need charging before it can be used. This is done by picking up the coloured orbs around the level or by completing mini tasks which release more orbs.

The mini tasks are pretty varied and range from quad bike racing to mini golf, platforming, target practice, skateboarding etc. and on the whole are pretty easy. I handed the controls over to my kids at this point who whipped through the various tasks with pleasure, never needing help from their Dad on a tricky bit .

At one point I thought we had scuppered ourselves on a level because my son thought it would be fun to park his mini-blimp in a fountain. Ok until you try to get back in it and find that it’s underwater. Then the next task involved flying up to a windowsill to retrieve a cat treat and I thought we would have to restart the level. Luckily each level also contains a mini garage when you can select your vehicle of choice, and hey presto! Like Rick Waller on Pop Idol, the blimp was back.

Graphically it is a bit flat looking and could’ve done with some more lighting and shading effects, but given that it’s a children’s game it’s colourful enough.

Soundwise it is a bit of a mixed bag. During the game you’ll meet a variety of characters from old favourites like the “oh so dry” Snowball the cat, ickle-wickle birdie with flying goggles, to kids playing with remote control vehicles. I wasn’t sure if the voices were by the original cast, sound-alikes or some characters were perhaps just made up for the sake of the game. Functional but not awe-inspiring, don’t splash out on a brand new surround sound rig to get the best from this baby.

Overall this is not a game for adults. You will be likely to chewing the arm of the sofa in boredom at the simplicity of the tasks and the chirpiness of the characters. But all three of my boys merrily worked their way through the levels with tasks that were not too taxing even for a four year old, so on that score SL3 succeeds where so many other games fail – it’s perfect for the kids.

Best Bits

- The kids can play it on their own
- Variety of mini games
Worst Bits

- I don’t get to use my l33t gamer sk1llz to help the kids out!
- Only one player

by: Telecoda

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