Remy the rat has a special knack when it comes to food preparation. Unlike his fellow country-rats, he just can’t stand eating out of the dumpster. His desire to be the greatest culinary rat leads him to the magnificent city of Paris, and after a tumultuous kick-off through the underlying sewers, he finds solace in aiding the bumbling, yet gentle human being, Linguini, to become the top Parisian chef, just like old papa was.
Ratatouille is yet another stunner of an animation by Brad Bird - the genius director over at Pixar. The game, however, is another story. Once you enter Paris, the events that unfold no longer mirror the film’s creative direction. Instead, the focus is now split into three separate game play styles, each of which is an uninspired design despite the excellent graphical carry-over - by the Wii’s standards.
First you have the 3D platforming stages where the goal is to gather the raw ingredients that will be later used in the kitchen. Bog-standard scurry and jump here; while the Wii-remote controls work well, the generic game play doesn’t bring the same regal plate of fine dining that the film delivered. Once you get into the kitchen, though, things start looking up. Now, to bring some fabulous edible creations to fruition you’ll have to use the Wii-remote to select your stolen - ahem, gathered ingredients and toss them up to make a crisp salad or perhaps dress a cake by participating in a PaRappa the Rappa-style rhythm-action mini-game. There are a fair few dishes to create, but most of them are very similar in technique to produce and as such, it soon gets pretty boring.
But then, watch out! The vertically-challenged head-chef, Skinner, suspects something’s amiss. There will be many times when you’ll have to stop, drop and scram, guiding Remy through a linear track throughout the kitchen and beyond in an effort to elude the bad man’s clutches. These chase sequences offer a nice change of pace from the gathering and cooking and are definitely the highlight of the main game. They are quite challenging, but again, with the ease of controlling Remy with the Wii-remote, they are a blast.
Too bad it’s over in a few hours - if you’re fast enough, you’ll be able to finish it in about the same period as the film’s running time! The abrupt ending doesn’t offer much closure too so be sure to catch the film first if you haven’t done so. There are a handful of bonus missions to finish off afterwards which include a catalogue of Super Mario 64-esque dream-world levels, and even more Wii-remote target-practice cooking sessions. There are some unlockable multiplayer mini-games to tackle with a friend too, but only some of them are playable simultaneously. The chase missions are still top the lot, though - unfortunately, there are only a few of these seeing as the focus is clearly on the cooking side of things.
Ratatouille is a decent jumble of platforming and Wii-remote mini-games sure to please the younger gamer who was enthralled by the 2007 film. Unfortunately, rather than being more like the sumptuous feast that the animation was, the game falls closer to the plain modesty exhibited by the original stewed vegetable dish - Ratatouille.