STAFF REVIEW of Rio (Xbox 360)

Friday, April 29, 2011.
by Adam Dileva

Rio Box art It?s almost that time of year; Summer, when the weather gets gorgeous and the blockbuster movies start to come out. Before the big rush of movies hit, sometimes there?s a few that sneak ahead in the Spring to beat the rush of movie overload. Rio is one of those earlier Spring movies that has just released. In the movie you?ll go along an adventure with Blu, a Macaw who?s an endangered animal and is on his way to Rio to meet Jewel, the only other bird of his species left. Shortly after they meet they are kidnapped by some smugglers and thus the adventure begins.

Now I?ll admit, I haven?t seen the movie yet myself, but I do plan on it as I enjoy the color animated movies that are geared towards kids but always have enough adult humor in it to make it enjoyable. I know what you?re thinking as well, ?Oh boy, a movie game?, right? Well, that was my first thought as well before playing the game, luckily THQ has taking a slightly different approach to making a movie tie-in game that never seems to please.

Rio the game is not like most movie games where it?s a retelling of the story for the most parts and clearly rushed to make the movie?s release date. Instead, THQ has brought all the movie?s colorful characters and locales together in a mini-game centered experience for your kids. Much like other party games, this one too will have you doing quick games of different objectives to win points and climb the leaderboards. You can play as Blu or other characters (though no character has any advantage over one another) from the movie in your journey to win first place at the Carnaval ceremony by yourself or with 3 of your friends (complete with drop in and out play). The colors are vibrant just like the movie depicts and the character and humor hasn?t seemed to have been lost in the translation to video game format either. Oddly enough, I want to see the movie more now after playing the game.

Four people will be able to play together from a choice of six playable characters (Blu, Jewel, Nico, Eva, Pedro and Raphael) from the movie across 40 different mini games (Note: the 360 version has 3 exclusive mini games to set itself apart from the other versions, though it never said in game anywhere which levels were the ?special? ones). The jump in and out option allows kids to easily join or leave games and most are quite easy to pick up and play without much button memorization at all.

Along with the 40 mini games are five different game modes to keep things going; Story, Party, Carnaval Wheel, Garland Gala, and Carnaval Dance. Oddly though, the mode names give you no hint at what mode entails what and can be confusing, especially for younger ones playing.

Story mode won?t actually take you through the story of the movie (there?s actually very little to do with the movie plot in the game) but instead you?ll play three matches in an area and if you?re the top winner, you?ll move onto the next area with three different matches to play. You won?t play every mini game in this mode in one go, but the majority of them will be seen. You?ll get a quick little clip from a scene in the movie, but what impressed me was that the clip was in true HD, where some clips have artifacts and low quality; these are amazing looking here and look straight from the movie.

Party mode can be done with a vs or team based mode enabled and then also optional quiz trivia at the end of events as well. You?re able to pick 5, 10, or 20 events and the person with the highest leaderboard score wins. If you opt for +quiz, you?ll be given two trivia questions after each event, some will be basic and others will test your deepest knowledge of the movie itself (which is why you?ld likely be buying the game anyways). Some questions are about Rio and the area itself and the other are about the movie and characters. The quiz questions are simply for fun (and achievements!).

Carnaval Wheel is essentially a roulette wheel you?ll spin that randomly picks a mini game to play and the set value of points for winning the game. Garland Gala is essentially the first to a set number of points of random games where Carnaval Dance mode is where you play games to gain dancers for your respective line; the first player to hit the set amount of dancers wins. So while there?s different styles and modes to play, the names of the modes themselves won?t give any indication of what it entaisl until you start playing.

With 40 games to play, you?ll be doing many things from kicking soccer balls, avoiding boxes, throwing mud balls, shooting marmots and more. A good portion of games are a slight variation of each other though, so you?ll be doing much of the same stuff in different areas or a slight twist on the game type. There are some quite entertaining games though; my favorite being ?Wash Your Worries Away? that has each player running around gathering mud balls to throw at other players to make them dirty. At set intervals you?ll need to stand on a geyser hole and hopefully pick the right one that will wash you clean. The first one to be completely clean wins, so hopefully no one throws those mud balls at you!

I was surprised that this movie title derived from the same old (and mostly failed) path of trying to recreate the movie, but instead went the mini game route. Aside from two or three games (I?m looking at you memorization and music mini games), all the activities are easy to learn and younger kids should have no problems for the most part enjoying themselves and feel like their playing properly. This isn?t the party game you?ll bring out when your friends are over, this is the game your kids will play to keep them entertained for a few hours, even more so if they have seen and enjoyed the movie itself.

What THQ has done perfectly though is offer Rio the game at a discounted price. The stores I?ve seen it in were priced at $29.99 rather than the standard $50 and up. I hope this starts a trend, especially with titles like this that generally have a stigma about them. Rio is a game that parents and kids can play together and with it being offered at the discounted price it?s not a bad deal, but don?t expect to find much tie-in with the movie aside from the characters and setting.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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