If someone tells you a game is based on a movie then that's generally a good enough reason to avoid the title all together. In the past few months, a lot of games have come out alongside the film versions of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Shrek the Third, Transformers, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Spiderman 3. However, when it comes to movie to game adaptations it's like searching a trash and treasure bin, for every ten poor games there is one glimmer of hope, where 2006 happened to have the incredibly entertaining Cars. Ratatouille (pronounced rat-a-too-ee) is Pixar's latest animation masterpiece and even though Ratatouille isn't quite as entertaining as Cars it is still an okay game that is recommended for small children or large fans of the movie.
Coming out on just about every platform under the sun Ratatouille roughly follows the events of the film. In the game you'll take control of Remy, a rat who is located in Paris, France. Remy isn't quite happy living his life as a rodent and dreams of becoming a chef (as most rats do, of course). However, being a rat quite obviously has its disadvantages; for Remy it is the fact that no restaurant in France would hire a rat for a head chef. Remy's luck changes one day when he helps out a cook in the kitchen. The guests enjoy the meal and Remy ends up helping out the cook create more food masterpieces.
The first thing you'll notice about Ratatouille is that it is a straight forward platformer. The controls are simple; Remy is controlled with the nunchuk's analog stick and it's possible to double jump with A. The B button acts as a guide and the camera is controlled by holding down the C button and pointing on the screen to move the camera. Moving the camera quickly becomes a chore though and manipulating the camera just ends up feeling clumsy.
The single player adventure in Ratatouille is pretty standard. Even when you're playing through the game for the first time it's hard not to be unimpressed with the lack of innovation. All of the standard platforming clichÃ©s are present in the game, so you'll need to double jump to reach high places and navigate tight ropes, you'll also come across the occasional fetch quest as well. Overall the gameplay ends up feeling familiar and the game is obviously aimed squarely at children as the title isn't all that difficult. All that really ends up keeping Ratatouille fresh is the different worlds, which manage to spice things up a bit.
The developers have thrown in a few mini games to break up the single player linear adventure. Some of the mini games are standard platforming mini games such as sliding levels, others are a little more specific to the Wii. The developers also borrowed a few other ideas for Ratatouille, as one of the mini games sees the player assume the role of Linguini (the cook). As Linguini you'll need to use the Wii remote to cook and prepare food, much like in Cooking Mama. As well as the mini games that can be found in the single player adventure there are also mini games which are available outside of the story mode. Some of the mini games included in the game are strictly for one player but others can be played with up to four players. The mini games do extend the lifespan of the game, but only for a little while.
Actors from the film such as Patton Oswalt and Brian Dennehy provide voicework for Ratatouille but they must have been getting paid per line, as there is very little dialogue in the game. Unfortunately none of the dialogue is all that entertaining, which is a shame given the source material. Graphically the game looks okay. The environments in the game are well designed, as are the character models. Unfortunately though the textures can be quite blurry and once again, we know the Wii is capable of much better.
In terms of the lifespan Ratatouille is a game that won't keep you entertained for too long. The main single player campaign can be completed in a day and there is very little reason to come back to the game except for the mini games, which are fun but won't keep you glued to the television for long. There are a few bonus unlockables such as movies for those who are huge fans of the film but overall Ratatouille isn't a long game and the lack of challenge means you'll breeze through the game even quicker.
Overall Ratatouille is best described as a standard platformer. There were just about no risks taken by the developers in the game and even though there are no stand out flaws with Ratatouille (except for maybe the camera) there is also no stand out reason to purchase or play the game. Small children and those who enjoyed the film should enjoy playing through Ratatouille, but the game plays it so safe that it's not recommended to those who just enjoy playing decent platformers. Those who are hesitating over which version to pick up shouldn't be too concerned either, as the versions are quite similar to each other.