With every big-budget animated movie comes a loveless low-budget piece of gaming merchandise to cling onto the coat tails of the brand phenomenon. That's the theory, anyway, with recent attempts like Cars, Happy Feet and Flushed Away proving to be the kind of crushing, soulless cash-in exercises that ride high in the charts and do nothing but drive people away from gaming in the long run. So few of these games ever come vaguely close to delivering anything even approaching genuinely admirable gaming experiences, and as such you can't help but feel that they're a really bad introduction to gaming for those that don't know any better.
But whenever these games sell by the truckload (which is all the time), the reasoning seems to be that they must be doing something right. After all, they're 100 per cent 'for kids'. Old, cynical adults shouldn't be so quick to judge what's good enough for kids, right? What nonsense.
As much as these officially licensed animated movie games sate that want, need, must HAVE urge you get as a young kid, they're often so poorly designed on a fundamental level that it's hard to just pat it on the head and let it go. So often, you're wrestling with awful controls, bad camera systems and the most tired and generic level designs imaginable. The problem with kids games in the main isn't that they're too easy and lead gamers by the hand, or that they reward too often and never frustrate, it's just that absolutely no love seemed to go into making them, and it shows.