There we were, all ready to sleep-play our way through Ratatouille, nonchalantly slip in a few film tie-in clichés ("Does no justice to the source material"; "Seems to have been rushed out in time for the film release"; that kind of thing) and then give it an entirely dismissive, offhand 50-or-so%. But every once in a while something lovely happens, and a game comes along which conspires to trip up seen-it-all-before games reviewers. Which is a good thing, obviously.
It's certainly not about to redefine the platform genre, or even the film licence one, but it breaks the recent run of poor movie spin-offs by being thoughtful, fun (more so if you happen to be in the game's younger target audience) and not broken.
The first impression isn't that brilliant. It looks like a rat's dinner. Playing as Remy, the rodent hero of the game, you explore the sewers, streets and kitchens of Paris as you try to realise your dream of being accepted as a top chef, but unfortunately the setting makes the game look rather bland, while some really murky textures make it look like a sub-GameCube title. The visuals don't push the Wii in any way.
No Kitchen Nightmares
Ratatouille's strength lies in the solidity of its platforming. If you've played any sort of game which requires you to jump, run or collect and deliver items, you'll be familiar with much of what Ratatouille has to offer. Whether it's avoiding an angry chef's Gordon Ramsay-like temper by sneaking through his kitchen, shooting down sewage pipes or beating enemies with a swish of your tail, you'll be at home, if slightly jaded, with the action on offer.
But the tightness of its control system (you use the Nunchuk most of all, with the Wii Remote given over to handling the majority of mini-games) and the variation of the level design means that your attention will be held throughout. Animation is slick and satisfying, with a weight to Remy and the world he explores.
So it's good value, does what it sets out to do and doesn't come across as the poor videogame cousin of a high-falutin', big-budget blockbuster. It's unoriginal of course, but it's fun - and we'd rather that than the other way around.