Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: Toy Story 3: Operation Camouflage (iPad version)

Released just a few days ago, Toy Story 3: Operation Camouflage is a $1.99 USD iTunes app designed to run on iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices (this review covers the iPad version). It's a relatively simple game that challenges players to find various objects in different "rooms" featured in Toy Story 3.

Sarge is the main character guiding the player through tutorials, as well as the main game, and is the only game character that audibly speaks (in a voice close to that of actor R. Lee Ermey). Other characters briefly interact with Sarge at times including Woody, Dolly, Chunk, Lotso, and Twitch.

The basic premise of the game is that Woody and other toys are missing, and Sarge and his soldiers are out looking for them. This leads to the main gameplay involving a series of images that the player must search in order to find each object in a list that appears at the bottom of the screen. The player is able to zoom in and out while searching for objects that only need to be tapped in order to be circled as found.

There are only two difficulty settings, "easy" and "hard." On "easy" players have no time limit in searching for objects, while "hard" mode provides a limited amount of time to complete each picture search per level. The four levels, by the way, are Andy's Room, Butterfly Room, Bonnie's Room, and Caterpillar Room. On "hard" if the player taps a wrong area, some time is lost from the total, making this setting obviously more of a challenge.

The optimal age range for this game appears to be between 6 and 9 years old. My 4-year-old wouldn't be able to play it on his own since he's not at the reading level he'd need to be to figure out what objects he's supposed to find. My 11-year-old got bored after two levels. My 9-year-old, on the other hand, really enjoyed the game and played it all the way through in one sitting. Unfortunately, there's not much replay value once a player has become familiar with the location of the objects.

The images themselves are, in general, very sharp. The main characters, in particular, are rendered nicely, while the music provides some passable Randy Newmanesque flourishes. The voice of Sarge can get fairly repetitive after awhile, but he does make some amusing remarks such as, "Write home soldier, and tell 'em you're pathetic!" when a player selects the wrong item. More affirming comments include "Great job!", "Mission accomplished!", "Lookin' good, soldier!", and more.

Although I haven't tested the iPhone/iPod version yet, which is included in the single purchase, I anticipate it will be harder to play the game on a smaller screen, especially in "hard" mode due to the time limits.

Is Toy Story: Operation Camouflage worth $1.99? That depends on how much use you think you'll get out of it. After an initial completion of the game, I don't see my kids clamoring to play it again and again (unlike Angry Birds, for instance). I think 99 cents would have been a more reasonable price. Still, I'll give it 2.5 out of 4 stars; 2 for the game quality and a half just because it is set in the world of Toy Story 3!

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