Good looking 3D movie scenes; some good minigames included; a good amount of replayability
Some of the minigames are duds; the presentation is too inconsistent; doesn't expand on its strong points
First and foremost, I must get this out of the way: this game is meant for kids. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not. Does that mean that this is a bad game? Not entirely, no. What the developers have done with Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue is create a game that will keep the kids busy and entertained, but leave the older Nemo fans with a game that has quality quickly shifting from good to bad on an all-too-consistent basis.
You may be led to believe that this is an adventure game, but it most definitely is not. In fact, it is a collection of mini-games loosely tied together through bits of footage from the movie. The developers added a nice touch by making the scenes from the movie appear in 3D, but sadly that’s about as far as they get when it comes to making the best of the 3DS. Most of the action happens on the bottom screen, while the top screen is typically filled with some ugly filler content that barely makes use of the 3D screen. The graphics occasionally break out of their dated DS roots, but of course, the word “sometimes” applies to this game quite often, as the game varies in quality from the presentation to the mini-games in general.
The mini-games themselves depend on which fish in the Tank Gang you choose. For example, Bubbles and Pearl will each have their own set of unique mini-games following an “escape” mini-game. These Super Monkey Ball-esque levels were certainly the best part of the game, as you have to guide the Tank Gang member within a fish baggie all the way to the ocean without taking too much damage from cars, crabs, seagulls, and environmental obstacles. Sadly, there isn’t enough of this type of gameplay in the rest of the game, and you’re often left wanting more of these levels and less of the other mini-games which involve collecting and being rewarded with shells according to how well you perform.
3D scenes from the movie are a nice touch!
Each mini-game also has a high score to beat, so perfecting each mini-game offers a certain sense of replay value if you’re willing go back and play them again, but when most of them are right old stinkers, it’s not very likely. The shells let you buy a variety of items and characters from the movie to place in your virtual aquarium too. There isn’t much to do with your aquarium, but it is rewarding to fill it up with items and characters as you go along.
Ultimately, if you’re in the young, target age group for this game, or simply a die-hard Nemo fan, you wouldn’t go terribly wrong for picking this up. The game offers a good amount of content and replayability that young kids and fans will enjoy to a degree, but if you’re just itching for a compilation of mini-games on 3DS, Finding Nemo: Escape to the Big Blue lacks the polish and consistency you can easily find elsewhere in 3DS’s library.