10 years ago, Pixar unleashed Finding Nemo, a simple tale about a small little clown fish venturing on an exciting oceanic adventure to save his son. The film resonated with viewers and became one of the film studio’s biggest successes and over the course of those ten years, Finding Nemo has become a favorite of many families, families whose children own Nintendo DS systems. Disney Interactive has capitalized on the re-release of the film to theaters for its 10th anniversary with a new game, Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue.
I love Finding Nemo and it is far and away my favorite Pixar film amongst a sea of amazing films. However the story never struck me as something that would translate well to video games. Escape to the Big Blue avoids this by focusing itself on the Tank gang, the group of fish Nemo spends most of his time locked away in the aquarium with in the film. At the end of the movie the Tank gang has busted out and this is where Escape to the Big Blue picks up.
The set-up makes perfect sense but the execution leaves quite a bit to be desired. Escape to the Big Blue is a mini-game collection. Each of the Tank gang has a series of mini-games to be completed before they can officially escape to the ocean. The game boasts over 30 different mini-games that are for the most part competently put together, many of them utilizing all the features of the DS system. However, while the gameplay is competent the presentation of everything is pretty haphazard as the visuals are muddy and the sound is borderline laughable.
I personally do not have an issue with mini-game collections and as mentioned I have an affinity for the source material but Escape to the Big Blue has little to appeal to my adult gaming needs.
While Escape to the Big Blue may not have tickled my fancy, my kids were enamored with it. Like myself, they love Finding Nemo and the chance to play quick, low impact games starring familiar characters was right up there alley. Whereas I was bothered by the presentation of the game they delved directly into gameplay and had a blast trying to guide the Tank gang to the ocean. My oldest daughter (9) and my son (7) both had little problem figuring out the different game mechanics thanks to a strong tutorial system before each mini-game. My younger daughter (5) had a little more trouble but with the help of her brother was able to make it through much of the game.
When asked about how they were enjoying the game the trio was enthusiastic about their play time with it all three enjoyed different aspects of the game. The thing that all of them agreed on was that it was fun playing with Dory and Marlin the most because they were the coolest.
Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue is game that hits its mark specifically with kids, which is a shame because the film draws inspiration from encompasses all audiences. This makes it hard to wholeheartedly recommend but considering the budget pricing it might be a good pickup for little fans of the film.