It’s been a while since I’ve played a “family” game, probably since LEGO Indiana Jones and I didn’t even play much of it. I personally felt the gameplay was a little bland for the LEGO games. UP on the other hand is the exact opposite. It was really fun. Besides the recently released X-Men Origins: Wolverine most video games based off of movies are pretty lame. UP in my opinion is the second game to get it right.
UP is an adventure/action type game like most movie games. You can take control of and switch between either Carl or Russell (and later Dug) but honestly this game is best played with a friend controlling the second character. I played through it with a friend. What I liked most about the game was that each character had a specific role that they did in specific spots. For example Carl was always the one who would jump up and use his cane to reach a ledge and then pull Russell up and Russell was always the one who would shimmy across ledges and pull Carl up with his rope. These actions weren’t interchangeable, they could only be done by the specific character. This made team-work crucial. I almost feel like UP did the whole co-op thing a lot better than Army of Two did.
The basic gameplay is get from point A to point B while collecting coins and smashing bugs. You also collect artifacts and mementos along the way. Being a perfectionist it was great fun smashing all of the rocks and mushrooms to collect things. I never was bored of the game, I always wanted to keep playing. This was mainly due to the fact that the environments were very diverse and looked very polished. The game is definitely a great looking game. Another thing I enjoyed was the fact that the movie scenes wouldn’t start until both characters were present, this was actually helpful because I would sometimes hang back and collect more coins than my friend would, so I didn’t have to worry about a movie scene cutting into my coin collecting.
The two things I didn’t like about the game were the dogs, these are the only real “enemies” you encounter other than spiders and wasps but they were all kind of annoying. I could never quite block their attacks at the right time. The other thing was the camera, while the camera was great most of the time it did sometimes hang back and do weird things that made it hard to play the game. Sometimes we would have to back track a little to get the camera to reset and follow us.
There are 11 levels total in the game and the game is disappointingly very short. We finished it in about 3-4 hours. This is my only major complaint. The $40 price tag for the Xbox 360 version (which I played for review) is great but might be a little too expensive for the length of the campaign. There are 3 multiplayer modes however. All of them consist of flying a plane but they are all pretty fun. The first mode is “Attack” which is the basic shoot your friends down mode, the next is “Pop” where you are to be the first to shoot and pop 100 balloons, and the last mode is Team where you are to shoot the vital parts of the other teams “drigible” to destroy it. There are 7 maps that you can play these modes on.
Overall UP was a lot of fun. Even though we breezed through it I enjoyed it very much and would love to play it again just to collect all of the mementos and artifacts. I do recommend picking this one up if you have a second person to play it with. While the campaign is short the multiplayer modes are enough to keep you busy for a little longer.