First you were all like “whoa”, and we were like “whoa”, and you were like “whoa…”
Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue Special Edition on Nintendo 3DS follows the journey of your favourite characters from the Finding Nemo animated movie as you guide Nemo and his tank friends safely home.
The game comprises of more than 30 mini games and combines these quick hit games with the various characters from the animated movie. Each of the seven fish tank characters allows the player to play four varied mini games in an attempt to grab the most pink shells in some hazardous conditions. Players can choose from entering the world map or interactive reef, with each area having a nice selection of entertainment and enjoyment aimed for the younger audience. Each chapter starts with a small animated cutscene before you enter the first round of mini games.
In Escape, you navigate a fish inside a plastic bag, carefully guiding and collecting pink shells, while trying to negotiate past bushes, busy streets filled with vehicles and along the busy harbor docks until you arrive at the ocean. During this time, you must try to avoid haphazardly falling down holes in the street, being attacked by overhead seagulls or nipped by the occasional crab in your path. Your fish character begins with five health hearts, but these will become depleted if you encounter a hazard along the way. It’s pretty easy and simple to play and the game mechanics are basic. There are health hearts to be found within the game, if you find yourself short of health, so there are no worries about short supplies. Players can use the circle pad to move each fish in their journey or simply use the stylus to navigate each character. Both were simple to use and worked exactly as you would expect. The main objective is to collect as many pink shells as you can in the designated time period, therefore trying to reach the highest score possible in each level. Once you are successful and have reached the ocean, you’ll be met with a brief cut scene clip from the animated movie, which looks really good with the 3D effect turned on. It’s pretty short, which was a little disappointing, but highly entertaining and amusing.
Beyond Escape, there are a wide variety of other mini games that will see the player doing all manner of different fish-based activities. Whilst the other mini games are plentiful and fill out the Find Nemo experience, none were as memorable as the Monkey Ball inspired Escape.
Once you’ve had your fill of fish-based action, players have time to become more interactive with the game. This is an opportunity to have some simple fun with the interactive reef, which is kind of a virtual aquarium for you to take care of your fish. Players can choose from two options, ocean or aquarium. Choosing ocean allows the players to see under the sea and save and purchase fish they’ve unlocked in the game and the aquarium offers a contained environment. Players can even choose from a selection of backgrounds to decorate their tank and eventually gain more fish to add to this pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. The game does allow you to purchase a nice variety of cute and loveable fish from the movie, although you’ll have to play through the characters to unlock most of them.
Visually Finding Nemo Escape to the Big Blue is bright and colorful, exactly what is needed to engage younger gamers. It offers a nice variety of gameplay for the younger audience and I like the fact you can organise and personalise your very own aquarium tank with a number of the fish characters from the game. However, I feel that the entertainment provided will quickly become limited once you’ve reached the amount of required shells and obtained all the fish within the game.
Finding Nemo Escape to the Big Blue has a real positive vibe, with its upbeat music and short animated cutscenes which are enhanced with 3D effects. It is visually delightful and sure to be a big hit amongst the target audience of the younger gamers. And it is these gamers who will be discovering the antics of Nemo for the first time in the recently re-release of the movie in 3D. For the small audience of new Nemo fans, Escape to the Big Blue is highly enjoyable, but anyone else should probably avoid dipping their toes in this water.