Mon Dieu! There’s a rat in the kitchen, and he reckons he can cook! With its simultaneous cross-platform release of Ratatouille coinciding with the theatrical release of Pixar’s movie of the same name, THQ have certainly covered all their bases. Yes, you’ll be able to play Ratatouille on practically any current platform – including the semi-retired Xbox (there’s even a version available for your mobile phone).
As you might expect from a movie tie-in, the game features characters, settings and events from the film and is loosely based on the plot. Ratatouille’s main game stars Remy the rat and follows the single player story mode formula, with a generous selection of multiplayer mini-games that are unlocked by progressing through the single player game.
Game play is nothing new, largely consisting of collecting charms and tokens to reach new areas and unlock bonus material; climbing, jumping and using objects to get from A to B or bypass obstacles. When it comes to controls Ratatouille is a game of contrasts. While most of the moves are simple to master – almost too simplistic for your average adult gamer, the timing and accuracy required for some of the missions are challenging to the point of frustration. The trickiest of these will probably defeat less dextrous junior players – even those with staying power. Some of the camera angles are a little awkward, and the major chase scenes require Remy to run towards the camera – which doesn’t give you much time to react to obstacles in Remy’s path.
Visually, while Ratatouille is pleasant enough to behold there’s nothing to really set it apart from every other movie tie-in I’ve encountered to date. There are the obligatory, unlockable behind-the-scenes video, plus actors from the film supply voices for the main characters, but the overall feel is that the Ratatouille game is a watered down incarnation of Pixar’s stellar movie; somewhat disappointing given that this particular version is for a next-gen console, and is priced accordingly.
All in all, Ratatouille on the Xbox 360 is not a bad little movie tie-in platform title, but it’s nothing special either. If you saw the movie first and are expecting great things from the 360 version of the game you will probably feel a bit cheated, but it’ll certainly keep the kiddies happily entertained… for a while, at least.