Over the years, I have slowly become accustomed to reviewing all manner of games. Only recently have I found myself excited when the next animated adventure game rolls across my desk. Ever since Kung-Fu Panda, it seems developers have started actually doing more than phoning-in their development of these licensed titles. The latest in this trend is Rango. A solid mix of action and platform elements, EA’s latest tie-in game actually does a lot to entertain, while not straying far from what makes the source material good. Rango is funny and diverse enough to make it worth checking out, for fans of the movie.
Following in the tradition of most licensed games nowadays, Rango does not follow the plot of the movie at all. In fact, this is an entirely separate story and a solid one at that. You are tasked with discovering the secret behind some meteor rocks that your arch nemesis, Lars, is trying to collect. Along the way, you will fight his thugs, aliens and even zombie rodents. Humor is the focal point of Rango and the developers have penned a truly witty story with some great voice work. Johnny Depp does not reprise his role here, but his stand-in nails it on so many levels.
When it comes to the game itself, this is your standard mash-up of genres, with the focus being mainly on action and platforming. You control Rango with the analog stick. You have your standard jumping, crouching and ledge hanging mixed with combat. Rango has his trusty sidearm that will take down foes with ease, but the game actually rewards you for using melee combat by awarding more sheriff stars, the game’s currency. There is also an Achievement/Trophy for completing a level without using the gun.
The sheriff stars are also found within breakable containers and can be spent when you find the merchant. Rango has a ton of upgrades ranging from the standard health increase to quicker reloading and so much more. It would take more than one playthrough in order to upgrade every single power, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Once completed, you can go back and play any level to collect anything you missed and, of course, collect more currency.
In addition to the standard levels, you also have some vehicle segments that have you riding atop a bat, roadrunner and even a flying saucer. These levels are sort of like on-rails shooters. My biggest gripe is that you cannot switch the aim inversion during these segments, which is fine for most gamers, but I am one of the weird ones that enjoy my aim inversion. It made these areas more frustrating than they probably should have been.
The most amazing thing about Rango is that it never once felt like a chore or became boring through my short playthrough. The game may not be epic in length or even challenging in any respect, but it also never failed to make me want to keep playing. Younger gamers, that are also fans of the movie, will have a blast playing through this, and there are segments that definitely warrant replaying simply for the experience.
Visually, the game isn’t going to knock your socks off in any respect. This looks like a licensed game and rarely takes advantage of the current generation hardware. Still, the solid camera and unique environments make up for the lack of impressive tech. The voice work is fantastic and, even without Depp reprising his role, the dialogue is both well-written and well-delivered.
Rango is yet another solid licensed game that obviously had some time and thought put into it. If you, or your kids, enjoyed the latest animated flick and want to continue the experience in the world of Rango, don’t hesitate in picking up this game. It is full of plenty of entertainment and enjoyment that make it worth the price tag.
Review copy provided by publisher.