Curious George PlayStation 2
Published by Namco
Developed by Monkey Bar Games
Release Date: Out Now
Curious George is a tale about a monkey, named George, who followed the man in the yellow hat all the way from his home in Africa back to the big city. The man in the yellow hat, called Ted, is in Africa searching for an idol. When he finds it and discovers that it’s only a few inches tall, it surely can’t be the real thing? Rather deflated, Ted decides to head back home. George takes a shine to Ted’s hat and when Ted says he can keep it he becomes fascinated with Ted and decides to follow him. The game opens with you having to guide George through the jungle making sure he gets on board Ted’s ship. George even manages to follow Ted all the way back to the USA.
The game is primarily a platform game but there are other elements to it. You’ll be swinging from ropes and jumping on top of hut roofs in Africa, messing around on the ship and jumping from taxi to taxi when you arrive in the USA, amongst other things. You’ll have to play some mini-games from time to time such as one of those games where you have to press the correct button at the appropriate time. To add a little bit of purpose to George’s platforming shenanigans he’ll have to collect bananas and search Curious Objects for Curious Points. Should you collect all the bananas on a level you’ll unlock special items in the Gift Shop. However to purchase these special items, such as costumes for George, you’ll have to have enough Curious Points. To acquire Curious Points George will have to search Curious Objects, which can be anything from beehives to cement mixers (Curious Objects are denoted by items that have a sparkle effect around them and when George approaches them a question mark will appear above his head).
Curious George is actually quite a pleasant experience that should definitely appeal to fans of the movie (not that it adheres rigidly to the movie storyline). It does have its fair share of problems though. The camera can occasionally leave you with an awkward view when you need to make a jump. The game will only take around five hours to complete (less if you’re an experienced platform gamer). There are 12 levels here in all but some are really short and most are really easy. There is some difficulty with certain jumps though. At times it feels like you’re required to make pixel perfect double-jumps and this can be frustrating. The mini-games you are asked to do feel like they’ve been added to simply pad out the experience and they last quite a bit longer than they should do. A few more levels would have been preferable to the rather tedious mini-games in all honesty.
In regards to the graphics, Curious George actually looks quite good. The visuals aren’t of the highest quality but the look of the game definitely suits the feel of the game. The characters all have a cartoon look about them and are close approximations of the characters from the movie. There are some collision detection problems. George can walk through some objects and you’ll occasionally notice George float in mid-air when standing slightly off some platforms. The frame rate remains smooth throughout although it would have been disappointing if it hadn’t given that this isn’t a highly detailed game, in graphical terms.
Curious George offers subtitles and by default they are enabled. This initially looks like the game is going to be fine for deaf gamers but the moment you start a new game this will turn to disappointment as you’ll notice the movie clips are not subtitled meaning you’ll miss out on the game’s story elements. The sad thing is that everything else in the game appears to be fine. The dialogue in the main part of the game is subtitled. Tutorial messages are shown in text and objectives are shown in text too. Objectives can be recalled at any time by pressing the R1 button. You’re also notified in text when a checkpoint has been reached.
After the disappointing Flushed Away it was good to play Curious George because it shows that games based on movies can actually be quite fun and that they can also capture a little of the movie’s spirit. There are problems though. The extracts from the movie not being subtitled is probably the biggest disappointment. There are times when it can be a frustrating experience with the camera going a little wonky and giving you a rather awkward view just as you need to make a jump. The need for pixel perfect double-jumps in certain situations is also frustrating and might cause younger gamers some difficulties. The game is also rather short and can be completed rather quickly. Still even taking these problems into account Curious George is a likeable game that will appeal to fans of the movie and younger gamers in general.
Curious George succeeds in capturing a little of the movie's spirit and for the most part is a fairly enjoyable game. It's rather short though and there are a few problems that prevent the game from being as good as it could be.