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iPad  header logo

Wallace & Gromit: The Last Resort

For: iPad

A matter of load and death

Product: Wallace and Gromit: The Last Resort | Developer: Telltale Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Adventure | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
 
Wallace and Gromit: The Last Resort iPad, thumbnail 1
There's nothing more British than Wallace & Gromit, and that goes double for The Last Resort on iPad.

Not only does the plot contain British staples like terrible weather, plucky opportunism, and quaint northern values, but the game arrives in the manner of a London bus: haunted by glitches and out of sequence.

Wallace & Gromit: The Last Resort
is only the second episode of a series that was released last year for PC and Xbox 360.

But we'll put aside speculation about why developer Telltale Games released the second episode for iPad before the first or whether more episodes are coming because – in narrative terms at least - The Last Resort stands on its own as a short and self-contained adventure.

Turned out not very nice

Drawing on the primary British national obsession, the plot centres around the weather. After Wallace and Gromit's holiday plans are scuppered by rain, Wallace decides to create his own indoor resort in the basement of his house.

Pleased with the results, he decides to open the resort to the public, but this brings problems when rumbustious Scotsman Duncan McBiscuit is attacked by a mysterious assailant.

Wallace purports to be able to identify the attacker using a machine called the 'Deduct-o-Matic', while the long-suffering Gromit actually does the detective work, going from room to room solving puzzles and interacting with the cast of suspects and the groaning victim.

The Last Resort does its source material justice, with a familiar plucky brass band score and models that share the dimensions of their plasticine counterparts.

But if what you're after is the gentle magic of the screen version in a different form, you may be disappointed by the sight of Wallace's well-proportioned but ultimately dead eyes and the sound of Ben Whitehead's impersonation of regular voice actor Peter Sallis in place of Sallis himself.

Think of this as a game that looks very like Wallace & Gromit, rather than an episode of Wallace & Gromit that you can play.

It's a funny old game

As an adventure game, The Last Resort is conventional. You scour environments, performing actions and combining objects with other objects or characters in order to solve puzzles that advance the story.

Some of the solutions are odd. For example, (spoiler alert) at an early stage two characters called Dibbins and Crum are arguing about a truck full of sand that Wallace needs for his basement resort. Both try to recruit Wallace to their side of the debate. If you side with Dibbins, Crum refuses to give you the sand. If you side with Crum, Dibbins refuses to let him.

It isn't until you experimentally prod at a poster advertising steak and kidney pies in the background that things progress. Wallace says something like, “Mmm, steak and kidney,” and the two disputants take this as a metaphor for working together. They make friends and you get the sand.

A spot of bother

The whole game takes place at Wallace's house and in the nearby town centre. Your inventory rarely has more than a couple of items in it, and unless you have severe comprehension problems you can finish the whole game in about three hours. You won't be able to go more than three minutes, though, without experiencing one of the game's flaws.

The first of these relates to the controls. For some incomprehensible reason the game employs the controls of the old Xbox 360 version rather than the PC one. When you touch the screen, a virtual control stick appears and you use this to guide Wallace or Gromit around.

This strange scheme puts you at a disorienting remove from the character you're controlling, particularly since you have to reorient whenever you enter a new screen. It's far less sensible than cursor control or direct control as employed in the Monkey Island 2 Special Edition.

Last technical resort

The second big problem with The Last Resort is the general technical performance. The framerate is erratic, loading between areas takes too long, and numerous other visual and auditory glitches chip away at the experience.

On two occasions I was even dumped out of the game entirely – a bug whose potential to enrage is magnified by the fact that you can't save manually.

However, you'll ultimately forgive these flaws and potter all the way to the final puzzle, because The Last Resort is basically fine. It was far from a classic on its original formats, and this is an imperfect conversion, but if you download it expecting nothing more than a few hours of glitchy, affable adventuring you won't be disappointed.
 
Wallace & Gromit: The Last Resort
Reviewer photo
Rob Hearn | 12 July 2010
The gameplay of The Last Resort is solid, if unspectacular, but poor technical performance undermines the experience
 
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