Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a great story. The original movie, the books and the new Johnny Depp version are well worth attention. As with other franchises, a game based on the latest incarnation of the movie has been released. The idea behind the game is a good one. It starts out with some fairly decent cinematics, then lets you take control of Charlie as he chases a $10 note around the snowy streets, over rooftops, and eventually sliding along on a rubbish bin lid in his eagerness to get hold of the money. When he does finally get it, he goes to the candy shop and spends $1 on a chocolate bar (keeping the rest for food for his poor family - because he’s a good boy), hoping to get Willy Wonka’s fabulous Golden Ticket, which will let him win a tour of the mysterious Wonka Factory.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the story. If you’re not, I suggest you go and see it. Once the initial part of the game is complete, you get to tour the Wonka factory along with a group of spoiled and rotten kids who get into trouble at every opportunity. Being such a good boy, you offer to help Mr. Wonka out by solving the problems these nasty kids cause. For example, a particularly nasty boy named Augustus Gloop decides to drink directly out of Mr. Wonka’s chocolate river, falls in, gets sucked into, then stuck in a pipe, and you have to help him out of it so that the river can be cleaned. To complete the puzzles like this in the game you enlist the help of the Oompa Loompa’s who (in case you don’t know) are very small people which Wonka uses to help produce his magical candy. As you progress through the game, the Oompa Loompa’s become more specialised with different abilities, and you need to work out which ones you will assign to a particular task. This ends up being a large part of the gameplay. Generally, the game is a 3d platform romp, but because there are no enemies to speak of, it’s more of a puzzle solving exercise than an action based game. I found some of the puzzles very frustrating and difficult, so if you are keen to stick it out, be prepared to spend some time on it. The frustration was due mostly to the camera angles, and the fact that the Oompa Loompa’s under your command aren’t very good at path-finding. (i.e. They get stuck. A lot). Apart from those problems though, I found it enjoyable and quite challenging - perfect for gamers between the ages of 8 to 14. The animation is good, features most of the voice-talent from the movie and the story, of course, is great.