Stuart Little is one popular mouse, so it only seemed natural that his videogame franchise would continue. And the end result is that we are greeted with Stuart Little 3: Big Photo Adventure. Obviously a title aimed at the little ones in the family, I actually enjoyed the fact that whilst reviewing it, I didn’t necessarily have to look over too critically - it is a kids game, after all. And what I was left with actually quite surprised me in the end.
After a few cut-scenes to set up the beginning of the game you find yourself in the garden of the familiar house. Your basic mission for the overall game is to replace photographs in George’s album that you have clumsily ruined. A bit unconvincing, but most kid’s games never have an overly complex plot.
The tutorial of the game is intertwined with the first level, so you are spoon fed advice about missions and controls as you progress. You play in a third person (mouse) viewpoint as you wander around the backyard. Hovering icons identify different tasks you need to complete. There are ten possible photos to be taken on the first level but you only need to take seven to progress to the next level of the game.
The controls are fairly fluid and allow you to roam freely around the area. Think GTA but smaller, nicer, friendlier, more pleasant and more colourful. The game also has that sense of pick up and play, so it shouldn’t be overly difficult for kids to get straight in to the game.
Like most cameras these days the batteries don’t last any more than two minutes, so your camera will need charging before it can be used. This is done by picking up the coloured orbs around the level, or by completing mini tasks that release more orbs.
The mini tasks are pretty varied and range from quad bike racing to mini golf, platforming, target practice, skateboarding etc. Overall, for the seasoned gamer these tasks could be useful for getting your thumbs warm on a cold day, but for the kids the difficulty is just right.
Visually the game fares reasonably well, with the environments and characters rich in colour. The game is sometimes prone to go between day and night when walking in shadows and un-lit spaces, but they are minor qualms in what is generally a solid visual performance.
Sound-wise it is a bit of a mixed bag. During the game you’ll meet a variety of characters from old favourites like Snowball the cat and the bird with flying goggles, to kids playing with remote control vehicles. It’s unclear whether the voices were by the original cast or sound-alikes, and whether some characters were perhaps just made up for the sake of the game, but from my Stuart Little movie-watching perspective they seemed authentic enough. Sound effects come over quite well too, as you’ll hear the click of the camera, and other effects generated by various objects.
It’s easy to spot that this isn’t a game made for adults, as the difficulty level makes it a breeze for a seasoned gamer to get through. However, Stuart Little 3 uses all its wit and charm, and what you are presented with is a nice little title that will have the kids occupied throughout the summer holidays.