Ratatouille, the video game based on the movie, is a children's game that does justice to this beguiling license. This is a story about Remy, a rat who dreams of becoming a famous French chef, and his tenuous relationship with Linguini, a clueless novice cook who works in a famous French kitchen. By directing Linguini's cooking, Remy is able to achieve his goal of becoming a famous chef.
In the Ratatouille console game (available on the Nintendo's Wii and Gamecube, Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 2, and Windows PC and Macs), THQ showcases the charm of the movie characters and the unique perspective of looking at a human world through the eyes of a rat. The result is a top-notch children's video game.
The game presents six beautifully drawn environments that are jam-packed with interesting interactive objects. As Remy, you explore these environments to discover ways for a rat to move from the floor to the rafters as you take on over 20 missions. The gameplay asks you to be inventive as you scurry around as a rat. Everyday human objects become transportation steppingstones for a rat. A little paper cocktail umbrella can be your means of gliding from one side of the room to another. Likewise, if you knock a spool of string off a counter, you can use it as a tightrope to get down and back up. And opened sardine cans make great trampolines for little rodents.
Another plus in the game is that the animations are adorable and fun. You control whether Remy walks or dashes; and if he is in the latter mode and you make him turn suddenly, you have the option of controlling his slide – a process that is exciting and hilarious to watch. Observing Remy delicately balance on strings and railings is equally charming as his little furry body sashays.
But what really moved this game from standard fare into excellence is the variety of game play. While, at its core, this is a platform puzzle game, it is so much more than that. There are special cooking games, wild rides down sewer pipes, and logic games about matching control buttons. There are chase games where Chef Skinner is right on your tail, and sneak missions where you have to find colanders and other objects to hide under. If you pass a crab or a lobster in the kitchen, they will steal an object from you. And balancing on beach balls is a great way to make it past a roach infestation.
We reviewed the Wii version, and the controls were spot-on. There were responsive and intuitive. Sprinkled throughout the experience are minigames that make special use of the Wii remote controller. For example, if you are caught, you can "shake" loose. Need to make soup? No problem – you can peel vegetables by swinging the remote in a circle, and chop them by moving it up and down in a slicing motion. Another nice built-in feature for kids is the ability to use Remy's Scent Vision, which provides you a path to solving the mission.
For families with children of different ages, the game can be played on five levels of difficulty (you have to unlock the Very Easy and the Nightmare levels). Also, there are several mini-games for two players to enjoy. And four players can compete for best score in Championship Mode.
If your family liked the Ratatouille movie, they will adore this console game. While the story line is a little different, the characters and environments are the same and equally enchanting.
All tech products are judged on a five star scale by looking at the following factors: fun, education, ease of use, value, and technical.