Chicken Little: Ace in Action Review
Chicken Little: Ace in Action is not so much based on the Chicken Little movie as it is on the movie’s parting joke. The Chicken Little story was “re-imagined” as a blockbuster action flick in which all of the geeky main characters were replaced with heroic Hollywood counterparts. Now the Ace in Action game is a game within a game in which the heroes of the Chicken Little movie play a video game starring their Hollywood counterparts. Confused? I’ll make it simple – Chicken Little: Ace in Action is a simplified version of the PS2’s Ratchet & Clank games ported to the Wii.
Now I understand that if you’re a Wii owner it in no way implies that you know anything about PS2 games or Ratchet & Clank in particular. In light of this I’ll go over the gameplay basics, so if you are indeed familiar with Ratchet & Clank please bear with me for a moment. The game can best be described as an action platformer in which you have all of the basic elements of a platform game – platforms to jump between, coins of some sort to collect, and some light button-pushing, switch-throwing puzzles to solve – with a lot of shooting enemies and blowing things up thrown in for good measure. Ratchet & Clank practically invented this style of gameplay and has turned it into an art form. While Ace in Action is not nearly as good a game as its inspiration, it does include the basic gameplay elements that make Ratchet & Clank so much fun to play and as a result it can be fun in its own right.
In Ace in Action you’ll at various times be placed in control of three of the movie’s heroes. The Ace Little levels are the most like Ratchet & Clank with you running around on foot blowing things up and incinerating various evil aliens and robots. Runt the oversized piglet is a tank-jockey in his levels, with more destruction and less jumping than in the Little levels. Abby the ugly duckling’s levels take place in space or in the skies above Ace and Runt, putting you in control of the team’s spaceship. All of the characters are controlled in the Wii spirit with full support for motion control with the remote and nunchuck. When things work control is great and it is certainly fun to aim your weapons by simply pointing at your enemies. Control starts to break down a little when you need to change your facing quickly, though. You’ll often be attacked from all sides and need to spin around in order to fight off all of your attackers. However when the cursor is pushed beyond the edge of the screen the screen simply stops rotating. Making matters worse, it can take several precious seconds to get the remote and on-screen cursor resynchronized to the point where you can take control of your viewpoint again. This can be tremendously annoying, but luckily for the player the game is not very difficult and you can almost always survive the times when you lose control of the view. It takes a fair amount of damage to kill you off, and when you are unlucky enough to run out of health the game simply puts you back in the action without any negative consequences. The levels are also littered with health power-ups, so it’s unlikely that you’ll find yourself clinging to your last bar of health very often. This ease of play makes the game ideal for younger gamers, but the challenge that older gamers seek is simply not there. This is a bit of a shame because the game includes a number of Sci-Fi references and little jokes that will fly right over the heads of the game’s target audience.
In addition to providing plenty of enemies to blast, the game’s levels provide lots of destructible objects to destroy. These objects all dump out golden acorns which serve as the game’s equivalent of coins. These can then be used between levels to purchase various weapon upgrades. The weapons are not nearly as varied or imaginative as those found in the Ratchet & Clank games, but kids will enjoy collecting the acorns and earning the upgrades.
Ace in action is easy enough to recommend for younger Wii gamers, although those who frustrate easily may be put off by the control issues. It’s decidedly better than the typical movie tie-in game aimed at kids, though, and you may find your children spending a lot more time with it than with those other games.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 73%. Ace in Action will keep kids occupied for a while, but there’s not quite enough to it to hold the interest of older gamers.