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Review: The Spiderwick Chronicles - Xbox 360

by Nick Haywood on 2 April 2008, 12:44

Tags: The Spiderwick Chronicles (Xbox 360), Vivendi Universal Interactive (NYSE:VIV), Children's

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The fastest way to make your kids hate you

Right, I'll keep this brief, as I honestly don't think that The Spiderwick Chronicles deserves much more space than it takes for me to tell you how bad it is.

Ignoring my usual reservations about film tie-ins, let's just say that I now blame The Spiderwick Chronicles (on the Xbox 360) for the fact that both my kids hate me. Let me explain why...

Being a seasoned gamer, I find that there's some games that a 30-something year old man may not be able to relate to, whereas the game's target audience might thoroughly enjoy it. LEGO Star Wars is a great case in point. Yes, I love it and have played it all the way through... but it takes a child to sit there and get literally hours of enjoyment from buying the extras and just running around the levels not doing very much.

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Add in the fact that the kids can play the game together and titles such as The Chronicles of Narnia, We Love Katamari, Shrek and Crash Bandicoot, (to name but a few), all keep the kids entertained way past the point where us grown-ups would've moved on, purely because the kids can indulge in simultaneous two player co-op or head to head fun.

In fact, The Chronicles of Narnia is a good example, as The Spiderwick Chronicles runs in a similar vein... a group of children discover a hidden fantasy world and then have to deal with the dangers and terrors within etc. And the kids, all excited by having seen the film, were all excited about being able to play the game.

The very first question they asked was if it was two player. The reasoning is simple: they both wanted to try out this new game and neither wanted to be the second to play... plus they nearly always play games together, so they're used to two-player co-op. So in answer to their questions I took a gander at the back of the box and it quite clearly states "players 1-2" and "co-op 2 players".

But, after roughly ten minutes of playing, flicking through options screens, double checking options screens, controller connections and even swapping out both wireless joypads for wired ones, I was forced to come to the conclusion that The Spiderwick Chronicles isn't actually a 2 player game, and because the box clearly implied it was, and as I told my kids it was, they now hate me.

Read on to find out why...