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Xbox 360 Game Review

The Spiderwick Chronicles


Format: Xbox 360
Sierra Entertainment
Age Restrictions: PG
Available 14 March 2008

Unlock and explore the hidden world of the seen and unseen from The Spiderwick Chronicles movie. Battle strange and enchanted creatures in this spellbound world of eerie adventures as you fight to stop a rising evil...

The Spiderwick Chronicles video game recreates the world of The Spiderwick Chronicles film and best-selling book series. Players get the chance to play as Jared, Simon and Mallory Grace, putting gamers in their shoes as they discover a hidden world of fantastical creatures - sprites, ogres, goblins, brownies and more.

The game starts in the old mansion house where you have to explore the rooms and various items that may come in useful in your quest. Once you've completed a few tasks then you are allowed to roam outside the house and, eventually, further out into the world.

One of the most important things to point out is that this is a game for the younger gamers in the market, and as such those expecting difficult puzzles and an incredibly deep gaming experience will be disappointed. However, younger fans of the books and the movie will really enjoy this game.

To progress further in the game you are given various tasks to complete and it's a simple case of working out what items around the mansion and grounds are to be used. You can also play as Thimbletack, a brownie, who helps the children by accessing areas that they are too small to enter. These levels take on more of a platform flavour than the levels where you play as the main children.

The graphics are pretty impressive and it was nice to see that the video sequences are actually taken from the movie.

Power ups are awarded to the player if they catch a sprite. Each capture attempt results in a mini game where the player has to "paint" (by holding down a button and moving the cursor as quickly as possible over the canvas before the time runs out) the sprite they have caught. If they fail to paint quickly enough then the sprite escapes. One annoying aspect of this is that the main game continues as you are "painting" which means any beasties can attack you.

Another problem is that the quests are not always easy to follow. There is little onscreen help and some of the younger players (who this game is aimed at) may have a problem progressing to the end.

Fans of the books and movie will find this enjoyable (even adults) but it's one of those games that I doubt you'll be digging out to play again once you've completed it - something that most gamers should be able to do in a few days.


Nick Smithson

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