When it comes to games based on licensed properties, especially those targeted at younger kids, the expectations for quality are usually pretty low. These are the kinds of games that usually rely entirely on their movie or cartoon tie-in to move copies, with the game itself sometimes seeming almost like an afterthought. It's this precedent that makes Piglet's Big Game, which ties in to the recently released Piglet's Big Movie, such a pleasant surprise. This is definitely a game for a younger audience, yet it displays a level of polish rarely seen in a kid's game, and some of the game's art design may actually impress people outside of its targeted age bracket.
Since each level actually takes place inside one of the character's heads, each is themed in a unique, rather surreal way.
Piglet's Big Game is loosely linked to Piglet's Big Movie--which features all the characters from the Winnie the Pooh cartoons--in that the focus of the story is the diminutive and somewhat panicky Piglet and how he helps his friends and gains some confidence in himself. Here, Piglet actually takes center stage in the dreams of each resident of The Hundred Acre Wood and helps them solve their problems.
Starting with Pooh himself, who absolutely needs to get some honey, Piglet traverses each character's psyche, performing a series of simple adventure-game-styled tasks. Each character's dreamworld is also fraught with peril, which comes in the form of the menacing Heffalumps and Woozles. Combat here is pretty innocuous and involves pressing button combinations presented on the screen so Piglet can make scary faces at the enemy before the enemy reaches him. The worst that can happen if an enemy reaches Piglet is that his usually jaunty little waddle will be interrupted by a cowering animation, which makes your progress a little slower. This can be easily alleviated by finding a Christopher Robin balloon and letting The Hundred Acre Wood's only human resident cheer you up. As you progress through the game, you'll need to learn how to make scarier faces. These can be purchased at brave-face factories scattered throughout the game with cookies that you find hidden inside various scenery along the way. The gameplay remains generally placid and easygoing throughout, and the game does lots of hand-holding, dropping hints for what are already pretty straightforward puzzles. Anyone in the double-digit age range will likely find the game too easy, and maybe even a bit condescending, to really get anything out of it. The young ones, however, will probably find the level of challenge to be just right.