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3DS  header logo

Finding Nemo - Escape to the Big Blue

For: 3DS

Better left lost

Product: Finding Nemo - Escape to the Big Blue | Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios | Format: 3DS | Genre: Casual | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Finding Nemo - Escape to the Big Blue 3DS, thumbnail 1
Conventional wisdom would suggest that licence games suck. But I think that's a myth.

Tie-in games have largely been getting better, I'd argue, and - for my money - they are returning to the dizzying heights of old licensed games like Duck Tales and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

I think this general shift towards totally acceptable (even solid) cash-ins is happening across the output of the entire industry. But, sadly, that memo wasn't picked up by the team behind Finding Nemo - Escape to the Big Blue. This is substandard mini-game fare for your kid's 3DS, and should be avoided.


The game opens with video from the original movie (on which this game is loosely based), and sets up the achingly weak narrative that forms the backbone of the game's reason to throw mini-games at you.

You remember that bit in the first film where Nemo and his pals are trapped in a fish tank and have to escape? This game documents those moments through generic party games.

What follows is an ocean-themed couple of hours of bland gaming. Super Monkey Ball-esque ball rolling upon hazardous courses, speeding though a tube avoiding obstacles (like Sonic 2's bonus stages), a teeth cleaning sequence where you find a dirty tooth and then rub it until clean, and all manner of other activities you've seen in various guises a thousand times before.

Repetition is a real problem for Escape to the Big Blue, because there are comparatively few games included, and you'll see a lot of very familiar content many times on your way to completion. Each character you unlock has different games on offer, but some are only slightly new takes on modes that have already come before.

This wouldn't be too much of an issue if these games were challenging or entertaining in any way, but the best the title can come up with is "inoffensive". There's bound to be a few mini-games you'll find tolerable, but is that enough for a retail release today? The answer is no. No it's not.

Oh cod, make it stop

The rolling game, by way of example, controls just fine but cheap deaths (caused by falling off ledges) are so inconsequential that you'll immediately go back to careering full pelt along the course. If the penalty is so minor, why include it at all?

The hide and seek game, where you must find your friends hiding under rocks, barely has any gameplay to it at all. You just tap on every object with a big marker over it until you win.

When you've trudged through the mini-games, there's also an aquarium that you can build, using points gained from play to unlock new objects that you can place about a small 3D landscape. It's hardly thrilling.

Visually poor and a far cry from approaching anywhere near the attention to details (let alone the fidelity) of the source material, this screams "made due to contractual obligation" every moment you play.

Sound effects, for example, are favourite phrases from the movie cut and paste into scenarios in which they don't belong, repeated endlessly until you reach for the volume slider.

I was hoping we were beyond this kind of shovelware bargain-bucket filler for the bigger licenses, but apparently we're not. Lacking any good reason to engage with it, save for a very long car ride and a total lack of anything else to play - no one needs Finding Nemo - Escape to the Big Blue in their 3DS cartridge slot.
Finding Nemo - Escape to the Big Blue
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 19 April 2013
Pixar films are about attention to detail and fun - this game has neither of those things
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