Welcome to Rio, no not a game inspired by the Brazilian city but based upon a cinematic release following the exploits of a rare domesticated bird named Blu who travels to the exotic land of Rio! So for anyone familiar with the film then this is surely aimed at you, however for the rest of us it’s a party game of sorts waiting to be experienced. Film-based titles don’t normally offer much, especially games based on children’s animations, but hopefully this likeable Spix Macaw might leave a good impression this time around.
You can play as Blu (obviously), Jewel, Pedro, Nico, Raphael or Eva through a variety of mini party games. You have your standard ‘Story’ mode, whereby you get to view clips from the film in between the games, you have to win enough games to proceed to the next level otherwise it’s game over. There’s the ‘Party’ mode where you can pick which games you want to participate in, arguably you can pick up to 40 games but that would be one long session! You can also have the games picked for you randomly if you can’t be assed to pick yourself. ‘Carnaval Wheel’ has you spinning a wheel to generate a certain number of points which can be won in the next game if you finish first. In ‘Garland Gala’ you have to amass points that at the end turn into galas that can be used in the last game, whilst ‘Carnaval Dance’ is another set of mini-games. In essence Rio is a party game, so the story mode is probably the least entertaining portion of the game.
There’s quite a variety of games to contend with. For example; ‘Barrel Hide’ requires that you run around collecting fruit and hide in a barrel before Nigel (the local bad guy) finds you. ‘Dodgeball’ is fairly self explanatory, ‘Bombing Run’ has you dropping fruit on Marmosets and in ‘Ice Hockey’ you need to defend your goal from pucks. Rio is definitely one of the most varied party titles out there, especially on the PS3. There are detailed instructions before each game starts and the controls are quite basic, usually you just have to move and press one button to perform an action. In play especially, where the characters have freedom to roam about, things can get very busy on screen. In some cases it can become confusing at times. The camera angles for each game are perfect for the player; at no point would you become annoyed with the viewpoint. All of the games are fun at the beginning and you will undoubtedly find out your favourites very quickly. Besides the party element there isn’t much else to Rio but that’s no bad thing.
Graphically it’s very slick, the colours are bold and beautiful yet detailed enough to be appreciated. The characters are easily distinguishable from the background and each other. There are alot of games featuring Marmosets, whether it’s trying to hit them or run away from them. For the most part their movements are quite varied and look suitably natural considering the environment they are in. The character animations are quite fluid, you do notice the subtle differences during play. As you might have guessed, the music is very Latin inspired, it’s very Brazilian sounding and gets you into the mood to party, although on some of the longer games it can become annoying. The dialogue won’t win any awards but the voice acting is smooth, if a little on the simple side.
Multiplayer-wise, up to four players can play at once and this is where the fun steps up a level. Just like most party games, the real enjoyment is with friends. Most of the games can become very competitive, especially the fruit collecting levels. You can play literally loads of games to find out who the best is. After all the designated games have been completed and you find out who the winner is, you get little comments like ‘Pedro is the toughest’ or ‘Blu is really energetic’ which give a description of some of your character’s performance during the mini-games. You can also team up with a partner which helps increase the variety and longevity of Rio. There is also a quiz mode available where you have to answer Rio or Brazilian related questions.
It’s a fun, if limited, experience, which might surprise a few older gamers out there. If you liked the film or have kids who enjoyed Blu and his escapades then it’s definitely worth an hour or two of your time. It might even give you some time to distract the children from wanting a real blue parrot (Spix Macaw to be exact!) for their next birthday!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 3 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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