It's hard to believe it's been 15 years since the original Toy Story movie. "It can't have been that long," we tell ourselves. Then we think back and remember the Toy Story video game, and remember it was released on the Mega Drive. We feel old.
Suitably, this is the main theme surrounding the third Toy Story movie, in which all the toys are nearing the end of their time with (the now-adult) Andy and would give anything for one last play with him. Such melancholy would never do for a video game, however, and so the focus on Toy Story 3 on the Wii is squarely on action.
The game is split into two distinct parts: the main single-player story and the Toy Box mode. The story roughly sticks to that of the movie and, without trying to sound patronising, offers surprisingly solid gameplay for a children's movie tie-in. The developer could easily have chucked together some hobbled gameplay engine and shifted plenty of copies anyway (step forward, Cars) or put together an embarrassingly short adventure (take a bow, Where The Wild Things Are) but instead it's clear there's been real effort put into this one.
The levels are nicely varied and each has you doing something completely different to the one before it. One minute you're riding Bullseye next to a speeding train, climbing aboard and rescuing hostages, the next you're exploring Andy's room, and then you're playing the actual Buzz Lightyear videogame that featured in the second movie.
Once you've played through the main story mode that's usually it for most tie-ins, however Toy Story 3's toy box mode is a huge extra feature that will actually take up more of your time. Disney hyped it up as a huge playground where you can do anything and while it's nowhere near as flexible as that it's still great. It's essentially Grand Theft Auto with Toy Story characters, where you talk to the likes of Slinky, Hamm and Stinky Pete and go on missions for them (usually going somewhere and collecting something).
The more of these you do, the more money you get to buy new toys, which unlock new missions. You can also find capsules which give you new costumes and building designs, which allow you to decorate the area as you see fit. The mode is very well-structured, and gives you new features and toys just as you start to get bored with the ones you have. Kids will be in their element here: we spent half an hour just chucking balls at small civilian toys' heads, giggling away to ourselves.
But Toy Story 3 isn't perfect, of course. Some of the tutorials could be clearer for younger gamers and the voice acting is truly atrocious, even though they got Tim 'Tom's brother' Hanks to voice Woody. If you've taken a young one to the cinema to see Toy Story 3 however, you should have no qualms about buying the game afterwards. It's got enough content to keep them occupied for a while, and the gameplay's solid enough that you can enjoy playing it on the fly while they're asleep.