Wii

North America

Happy Feet

by Aaron Kaluszka - December 20, 2006, 10:30 pm PST
Total comments: 4

4.5

I think they forgot to put the “Happy" in the game.

Happy Feet is a game based on the recent animated movie of the same name. Starring a penguin with an uncharacteristically bad singing voice, but an amazing dancing talent, the game takes players through events in the movie, beginning with the birth of the penguin, Mumble.

The game is broken up into short mini-game segments, each of which ties in with an event from the movie. Gameplay consists of three basic mini-game types: dancing, swimming, and belly sledding. Between the gaming segments, the story progresses through fully voiced cut scenes. The graphics work is acceptable for a previous generation console, but animations, particularly when the baby penguins talk, are sometimes spastic, and transitions are choppy.

Dancing is nearly identical to Dance Dance Revolution in that the four directional arrows scroll up in various sequences matching the rhythm of the music. Players move the Wii Remote like a baton in the specified direction as the arrows pass by. Alternatively, the D-pad on the Wii Remote may be used. Unlike DDR, there are no ratings given to each step, and detection is pretty lenient. Directional motion with the Wii Remote tends to trigger more than one arrow at a time. Also, since you can only move in one direction at a time, there are no instances of pairs of arrows. I was hoping to be able to plug a dance pad in to play this type of mini-game, but the game sadly does not support GameCube control whatsoever. There are three difficulty modes, but none offers any real challenge.

The second gameplay type is swimming. Sometimes featuring a collection task and at other times requiring checkpoint clearance, the basic goal is the same: collect items or pass checkpoints as quickly as possible. The Remote is held in steering position and can be tilted left, right, forward, or backward, in order to direct Mumble in the proper direction. Again, the D-pad may be used instead.

The final mini-game type is belly sledding. This mode controls similarly to swimming, though mostly restricted to two dimensions. Players must race Mumble down an icy mountain, sometimes collecting items. Additionally, the 2 button is used to jump over obstacles. Unfortunately, these three types of games simply repeat over and over with little variation.

The game starts off pretty fun, but it dulls quickly once you realize that you’ve seen pretty much everything there is to see within the game after a few minutes. Each stage has three levels of medal that can be obtained by meeting particular performance criteria. Gold medals unlock animations. The problem is that the game is so easy, gold medals are nearly guaranteed on any stage the first time through.

While the use of the Wii Remote is pretty good within the game itself, outside of the game things are not designed as well. Menu navigation is performed solely with the D-pad and buttons, which feels odd after coming from the Wii main menu.

A two player “Family" mode is included, which is activated upon detection of two active Wii Remotes. Any of the three types of games may be played by two players. I thought trying to control two player dancing might be more fun, but each player gets identical sets of arrows, so there is no added challenge. Furthermore, the mini-game likely to yield the most multiplayer fun, racing, actually only allows a single player to race, while the second player must bash roadblocks out of the way by completing arrow sequences. At least the swimming mini-games sport two-player competitive play.

Happy Feet is a game clearly targeted at children. Young children may enjoy the game, particularly if they enjoyed the movie. However, the overall experience is shallow. Nothing is really broken about Happy Feet; it simply gets old quickly. The game would have been much better suited if it had been designed as an actual dancing game. More diversity in game modes or a semblance of challenge would have made this game feel like something more than just going through the motions.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
5 7 8 4 3 4.5
Graphics
5

Graphics are directly ported from previous generation consoles, and they weren’t impressive there. Particularly since there’s not a lot of action on-screen, movie-adapted effects, such as fur shading, would have been appropriate, but are absent. The game doesn’t even support widescreen or progressive scan.

Sound
7

While the game may not include the star-studded voicework of the movie, the voiceovers are pretty good. The music is appropriate but forgettable. Dance tracks include famous hits such as “Shake Your Booty" and “That’s the Way."

Control
8

Control was well adapted for the Wii Remote, using gestures for the dance sessions and steering for the other two game types, while still allowing the use of the D-pad if desired. Menu navigation is oddly limited to buttons only.

Gameplay
4

There are only three mini-game types in the entire game that are repeated ad nauseum. This might not have been so bad if the games actually offered some sort of challenge or could be controlled by a dance pad.

Lastability
3

Again, with only three game types and little challenge, the game gets old after about half an hour. Medals serve to extend the game slightly by adding challenges, but fail to fix the inherent problems with the game. Multiplayer mode just yields two times the dullness.

Final
4.5

Happy Feet starts off with promise, but quickly trips and falls short of containing anything worthy of a standard game purchase. The game was clearly designed with small children in mind, and perhaps it would be enjoyed somewhat by those in that demographic.

Summary

Pros
  • Pick up and play controls
  • Satisfactory adaptation for the Wii Remote
Cons
  • Clearly a port of a last gen game
  • Mind-numbingly repetitive
  • Nearly zero challenge
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

18 DaysDecember 20, 2006

Shame because the movie is quite good and can be enjoyed by any audience. Fun fact, Mario the forum member's Dad worked on the film.

HotdiggedydemonDecember 21, 2006

his name isn't "mumbles", its "mumble"

...or, so I've heard

NWR_pap64Pedro Hernandez, Contributing WriterDecember 21, 2006

Quote

Originally posted by: Hotdiggedydemon
his name isn't "mumbles", its "mumble"

...or, so I've heard


Yep, the penguin's name is Mumble.

I agree, the movie was very good. I loved the music and the characters, ESPECIALLY the Latin penguins. My one gripe is that its gets a bit too dark near the end of the movie. Its bad to the point where I started squirming in my seat.

But outside that, the movie was a lot of fun.

Sorry I had Mumble written originally, but it got changed somewhere in the editing process and I didn't catch it.

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Happy Feet Box Art

Genre Adventure
Developer Midway
Players1 - 2

Worldwide Releases

na: Happy Feet
Release Nov 18, 2006
PublisherMidway
RatingEveryone
eu: Happy Feet
Release Dec 08, 2006
PublisherMidway
Rating3+

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