ESRB: vor all ages
A review by André 20th October 2003
(translated by slydos)
I admit: I occasionally like to play a kids adventure. And I don't only mean games for a teenage target group like the Famous Five-series or Castle Schreckenstein, whereby particularly the second series already shows a considerable degree of difficulty, but also pure children's games such as Spy Fox, Pink Panther or just this very game, which was released recently - unfortunately only in English.
Well, yummy, now I'm a vegetable! Judging from the shape, I am probably a young Brokkoli and answer to the name of Junior. Junior is a boy scout and together with his fellow vegetable boy scouts stranded on a deserted island. The goal is to get away from the island of course. But an island inhabitant (hey, not completely deserted) offers that if we find a treasure for him, in response we'll get as reward a boat for leaving the island.
Cute graphics can be found in this game. Lovely animated comic characters cavort in multicolored backgrounds. Most of them - bound by the game's title - are represented by vegetables of the most diverse kind and of course equipped with the gift of speaking and running or better said hopping.
Our vegetarian comrades were drawn with simple shapes and childlike laughing faces in such a way, that children will surely embosom them fast. Besides they constantly wobble back and forth, what looks in connection with the nice faces very cute. In addition the island is populated by a few animals as for example a raven, which always accompanies us giving us more or less helpful hints.
The faces of the characters are quite decently animated, unfortunately the mimic of our hero surprisingly least. He actually nearly always looks at us with the same surprised to concerned facial expression, what doesn't really look lively. From time to time a laughter here or a few eye movements there surely wouldn't have harmed our vegetable protagonist.
We can walk through classic island adventure locations such as roads, forest, caves etc.. Of course a pirate ship isn't missing. All in all a rather high cuteness-factor is given and so not only the goal of appealing to children is achieved - but to me too.
Who has already played kids adventures such as Spy Fox or Pink Panther, knows, that these can include quite tricky puzzles here and there. This game does not! The puzzles of Veggie Island are really simple and appropriate for the actual target group. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, simply to use a bowl here or a rope there and to watch the animations besides. The developers still added a few things, to make the game interesting. Variety is created by maps, especially a treasure map, which can be completed by won map parts. "Silly Campfire Songs" offer an incentive for playing too. One finds in the course of the game some bonus items and can listen at the campfire to rather ludicrous songs - in proper style played on a guitar. Otherwise one must complete some likewise very simple dexterity minigames. Sometimes you have to fish with a fishing pole another time you have to chase frogs from one water lily leaf to another.
The point+click control is very easy. There are never more than four or five objects in the inventory at the most.
Moreover there is a kind of scout book, in which e.g. a few things about nature are noted and also a few "badges" stick in, which one earns during the game. Besides also the game progress is noted here which the proud junior adventurer can print out. Games are saved automatically and so even newbie-adventurers can't do anything wrong.
Oh, if you leave a scene, there may be waiting periods like in the former GDR or in Atlantis 2. And there are no sub-titles. That is annoying, since I really do understand English-language games better, if I can read the text in addition. Besides particularly the squeaking comic voices needed getting used to for me, who only has a medium grasp of the English language. The voices however could be clearly better understood after turning down the loud music.
Not much to say here. As already metioned, the characters are dubbed with suitable comic voices and the somewhat too loud background music is better turned down first. This music consists to a large extent of a few simple, but beautiful guitar-songs. With the correct volume they fit very well the "lonely island atmosphere". Then there are the mentioned abstruse "Silly Campfire Songs", sung out loud with an off-key voice accompanied by guitar. Otherwise the sound behaves unobtrusively. Here a pling and there a plong, but nothing that would particularly emphasize in a positive or negative way.
Generally speaking Veggie Island is in any case a very recommendable game for all English-speaking children. It is full of humour, nonviolant and non-frustrating. The adult player however surely needs to puzzle only with half strength. The game offers however a lot of variation for example by the mini-games and so "The Mystery of Veggie Island" is a nice pastime for adventure fans, who are always searching for a new game for their collection that can be well played for relaxation e.g. in the evening.
I haven't taken the resulting short play time of perhaps three hours (for adults) into consideration for the rating, but assessed Veggie as children's game. Perhaps I wouldn't pay an exorbitant price for this game which cannot be purchased so far in Germany.
Rating: 71 %
(Editor's note: The sequel Veggie Tales: Minnesota Cuke and the Coconut Apes, released in August 2003, hasn't been added to the Archiv, because it's predominantly a jump&run-game with too few adventure-elements.)
Adventure-Archiv rating system:
- 80% - 100% excellent game, very recommendable
- 70% - 79% good game, recommendable
- 60% - 69% satisfactory, restricted recommendable
- 50% - 59% sufficient (not very recommendable)
- 40% - 49% rather deficient (not to be recommended - for hardcore-adventure-freaks and collectors only)
- 0% - 39% worst (don't put your fingers on it)
Minimal system requirements:
- PII 450 Mhz
- 64 MB
- 200 MB hard disk
- Win 98
- Pentium III
- 64 MB Ram
- Soundblaster Pro
- 40x CDROM-drive