Into the Vault: Tangled (Nintendo DS)
So I really enjoy Tangled. It’s an incredibly fun movie that still holds up incredibly well a decade later and honestly kind of represents a certain point where Disney CG animated movies were getting on par with and have recently kinda surpassed a lot of the latest Pixar efforts. It definitely seemed like Tangled did not get it’s due at release but I think it’s recognized for the great movie it is now and even has a really fun animated series I’m going through currently on Disney Plus.
And in fact, that’s what inspired me to play and review the Tangled video game for the Nintendo DS. It’s also part of the last era of when a big movie marketed to either mostly young teens or kids came out, there was usually a game accompanying it. There’s also a very different Wii version that I will review at another time, possibly even next week we’ll see how that goes.
Right off the bat, the most striking thing about Tangled for the Nintendo DS is how it looks. And I sadly do not mean this in a positive way. It’s not just that the game is really unimpressive in how it looks. It’s that it looks like some bargain bin knock-off of the property it is based on that didn’t actually have the rights to use any official art or images from the movie. This is an officially licensed Disney game based on a movie, why do the characters look like this?
As for the actual gameplay, it’s not completely terrible, just kinda slow and uninspired? It consists of you walking around and tapping sparkly spots to get suns (which as far as I can tell are only used to bypass minigames you don’t want to bother with or might be too hard for younger gamers) and playing various minigames to progress in the story.
Keeping in mind that these are clearly designed for very young children, they aren’t terrible. There’s a very simple draw game where you occasionally blow into the mic (which I hate but a lot of games had this dumb feature that was pointless so I’m not specifically holding it against this game), a match game, a game where you comb leaves out of Rapunzel’s hair (not kidding), and a couple of others. Not super exciting but functional and I could certainly see how a young kid could be entertained and they aren’t super challenging.
Now, what could make this a still better than the average licensed game is if these were tied into the story and events of the movie in a clever and fun manner. Sometimes the right packaging helps a lot. This is where Tangled falls incredibly hard. Sure, it loosely follows the plot of the film, but also interjects a lot of tedious activities that would’ve made the movie incredibly boring such as making a memory potion for some random innkeeper or fixing a love letter from one kid to another or painting a wagon?
These activities also lead to the weirdest thing about the game: apparently, Rapunzel has a vast array of superpowers? I’m not talking about the hair, we know about the hair. I mean with the simple tap of a screen I can fix a tree, fix wagon wheels with no tools, make sunshine magically appear, etc. Apparently, in this game, Rapunzel is a literal god with powers that fit whatever the situation requires (btw people, this is what an actual Mary Sue is). Why is this necessary? You couldn’t come up with situations that require Rapunzel to use her natural talents? Did these people even watch the movie this game is based on or just get a loose synopsis and decided they’ll take that and do whatever they want with it? Actually given that the game came out around the same time as the movie that’s totally possible.
So, in summation: watch the fantastic movie if you haven’t already, check out the series if you want a fun watch, but skip this bizarrely off-brand take on Tangled. Let’s hope the Wii version actually does the movie some justice when I review it (which I am thinking yeah, unless something else comes up or I just don’t have time, that will be the next entry).