Too often it seems like games based on movies are mediocre adaptations of a film’s plot. But, to their credit, they usually fare much better than the reverse, when movies are sourced from video games. Either way, Wreck-It Ralph sort of blurs the lines and begs the question: Which came first — the game or the movie?
The ambiguity only enhances what players get in this three-game package (soon to be four, so stay tuned). Wreck-It Ralph serves as an extension of its film, but in theory, these games come before the plot presented in the hit Disney film.
Do the individual adventures make for a cohesive and entertaining addition to the franchise? Find out after the jump.
Players begin in Game Central Station. Here among the intro screens for each game, players will be encouraged to first play Fix-It Felix Jr., which is also available as a free stand-alone game in the App Store. After a few rounds, you’re free to explore the two other games that are currently available.
Ralph Wrecks in Fix-It Felix Jr.
In the film, Fix-It Felix Jr. is the arcade game where Wreck-It Ralph “lives,” serving as that game’s villain. Since Ralph desires to become a hero in the flick, it’s fun to see how he got such a nasty reputation.
To start, Wreck-It Ralph climbs up buildings in Niceland, does a heavy jump and breaks several of the windows in the edifice. You play as Fix-It Felix, whose job it is to repair all of the broken glass to proceed to the next level.
This 8-bit adventure is similar in look and game play to the classic Donkey Kong. Felix hops from windowpane to windowpane fixing the windows with the tap of a button. But don’t think that Ralph will make it easy. The big guy patrols the top of the level, knocking down bricks that can take you out and take one of your lives.
Felix is able to move up and down the building to get from one window to the next. Flowerbeds prevent him from moving up or down while shutters can block your left-to-right moments. Grab a pie that’s up in a windowsill to gain invincibility, which protects you from Ralph’s falling bricks.
Get High in Sweet Climber
Wreck-It Ralph gets a chance to be the hero in Sweet Climber. The jump-and-tilt game finds the once-destructive baddie leaping up an endless supply of branches on candy cane trees. Along the way he’ll collect all sort of goodies, including jelly beans, gummy bears and soda pop bottles.
Some of the confections you grab on your way up will offer more than a cure for your sweet tooth, they’ll also help you past some tough spots. For example, a marshmallow will float Ralph upward for a certain period of time, helping him get to out-of-reach areas or stretches where branches aren’t as readily available.
There’s also a sugarcoated gumdrop, which can launch Ralph past several branches and speed up the bagging of sweet treats.
These tricks are especially helpful because some of the branches disappear upon being touched. Consider that another inspiration to keep moving up, because that’s the only direction you can move for Ralph to be safe.
Another tip that doesn’t require candy? Wreck-It Ralph is able to move from side to side. This should be particularly helpful if branches seem too far out of reach because an easier jump may be either left or right.
Answer the Call in Hero’s Duty
Sergeant Calhoun, the bold and brash slayer of Cy-Bugs, borrows some of Wreck-It Ralph’s shine in Hero’s Duty. The overhead shooter features the warrior battling on oncoming hive of the beasties, which attach themselves to you and — like the parasites they are — drain your character’s life energy. You’ll be boxed in with few places to run, so you’ll be forced to fight them head on. Luckily, you’ll be ready for the challenge.
See, the best defense is the arsenal of hi-tech weaponry at Sgt. Calhoun’s disposal. Start with a zapper that fires a single beam in one direction, but quickly move up to a multi-directional weapon that takes out more Cy-Bugs in a single shot and so on.
The pesky digital insects like to swarm their enemy, so the best move here is to keep moving. Staying in one spot won’t serve you well no matter how powerful your gun. Fortunately, you can also shoot quickly and very easily in many directions at a time by rotating the shooting controls. But should you fail at your mission, Sgt. Calhoun will disintegrate into a bunch of red particles. Do her a favor and put up a good fight.
Another Disney Classic?
With a nostalgia-inducing soundtrack and graphics in Fix-It Felix Jr., and new-school gaming sensibilities in Sweet Climber and Hero’s Duty, Wreck-It Ralph is a pleasing addition for all ages’ app collections. The gameplay for each is not complex. Yet play any of them for a long enough period of time and it won’t take long to feel challenged by the escalating difficulty.
What’s great is that the games fit into the continuity of the Wreck-It Ralph movie, so the there’s more of an organic cohesion between all of them. The natural continuation expands upon the storyline and fits cleanly into the mythology rather than feeling forced, which adds a deeper layer to the fun.