Apart from being some of this summer's biggest movie box office hits, the likes of Miami Vice, Monster House, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Cars have also done rather well for the respective publishers responsible for the inevitable videogame adaptations. Check out Cars: Three weeks at the top spot, and no sign of flagging as THQ clocks up another Pixar-fuelled success to rival the vast-selling Finding Nemo. But looking elsewhere down the best-seller's list we couldn't help but notice that we'd overlooked Over The Hedge, and fancied seeing whether it could buck the trend of awful games-of-the-movie. Call us suckers for punishment, but that's what we're here for - and while publishers continue their unofficial summer strike, we're not exactly overloaded with games to review at the moment.
It's hardly surprising that our pals at Activision were hardly rushing to send us a copy, either. We're not exactly well-known for our benevolence towards digital merchandising of hit movies, but we do give them a fair crack and try to consider the audience for which they're intended to serve before dispatching the size nine to their backsides. And besides, any game that's lurked in and around the Top 10 all summer deserves to be investigated eventually - if only to give the parents among you an idea of whether it'd make a decent purchase for a nipper not skilled enough to play a 'proper' grown-up videogame yet.
Reviewing Over The Hedge in its own little kids' movie license bubble (as we'll try to throughout), it's easily one of the better attempts to hit the shelves this year. Compared to the shamefully short Monster House or Pirates of the Caribbean it wins hands down. As unchallenging as it'll be to the average gamer (who really should know better than to buy a kids' game anyway), it's got bags of variety, warm humour, a decent amount of longevity and is technically pretty slick too. Boasting 35 levels, three mini-games (each with four levels to unlock), and the usual array of unlockables (movie clips, comics, concept art and the like) there's even a semblance of value for money. Put it this way, a young 'un won't just blitz through it in an evening. A weekend, maybe, but that's a whole lot better than the other offerings we've come across lately.