The Spiderwick Chronicles Review

The Spiderwick Chronicles is based upon the upcoming movie that is based upon the best-selling books by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi in which three siblings — twins Simon and Jared, along with older sister Mallory — explore the unseen magical world described in a journal they find at Spiderwick Estates, their new home.

As usual with these sorts of tie-in games, SC incorporates various clips from the actual movie. You play the characters of any of the Grace children in addition to the character Brownie, who is a small magical creature capable of entering small crevices and locations. The plot is pretty linear but also offers you freedom within the boundaries of the game to freely explore.

Gameplay follows task-based quests and side missions. Part of the fun of this game is just roaming around the house and the estate in order to find objects, secret locations, and solving the various puzzles that range from the simple to more difficult ones that require a bit of creative thinking or good observational skills. Each child has special abilities and skills that enable them to combat enemies and complete certain tasks in the missions.

SC doesn’t really break any new ground as far as this sort of adventure/exploration game, but it does pretty well in defining the Spiderwick universe by creating interesting environments, injecting humor and offering a nice little package that will appeal to fans of the Spiderwick books or to those who wish to experience the Spiderwick world through the medium of a video game.

In saying that, this game will definitely appeal to kids of all ages but probably not to seasoned gamers. The tasks aren’t incredibly hard to accomplish — such as catching the fairies, fighting goblins, formulating concoctions and navigating through the various terrain and obstacles — but the entertainment value of exploring the Spiderwick grounds may be all that is needed to enjoy the game for some individuals.

The downside to SC lies with the repetitive gameplay which basically boils down to finding objects, killing boss monsters, catching fairies, and going on little side quests that sometimes feel more like busy work rather than advancing the plot. But for task-oriented individuals who like to check off items from a list, this will be a pretty good match for them.

There are ample hints and instructions from within the game and in the field guide and journal that you carry along with you. The book keeps track of what your quests and goals are in addition to your fighting moves, inventory, and various bits of info that will help you to complete objectives.

It was fun running into the various enemies on the Spiderwick grounds and using different weapons to defeat the monsters. Although this game is rated “E” for everyone, I was a little surprised at the actual violence in the game. Jared uses a baseball bat to swing at his adversaries and he beats them into the ground with bone crunching sound effects as they whither and die before him, while Mallory wields a sword and Simon throws magical rocks and uses a tomato juice gun. After the goblins are killed, you collect their teeth in order to upgrade your fighting moves.

The graphics of the game are decent enough, and depict the Spiderwick characters and environments pretty well. If you have a phobia about cockroaches you’ll freak out as Brownie spears the little varmints by throwing needles at them. The resulting crunch of the bodies may shake and rattle even the most stalwart gamers. As far as the sound track, it is a little on the sparse side and the voice acting isn’t what I would call good. The actor depicting Jared always sounds as though he’s bored stiff while the voices for Simon and Mallory fare a little bit better.

All in all the Spiderwick Chronicles is a simple game that will appeal to kids and those who aren’t heavily into gaming. The environment is charming and leads to a nice few hours of exploration and adventure. The game is simple almost to a fault and this may bother some people, but if the game is seen as a travel guide into the Spiderwick world, it will have served its purpose.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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