Chicken Little: Ace in Action
is impressive on two levels. Not only is it a fun game, but it gets mileage from a property that wasnít all that great to begin with.
Ace in Action is the prequel to the movie loosely based on the events seen in Chicken Little. Confused? Well, just wait until you hear the gameís plot. Rather than playing as Ace and his crew as they chase down Foxy Loxy, you control Chicken Little and his friends as they control the characters in the game. So you are playing a game based on a movie playing as the characters who are playing a game that is the prequel to a movie that is loosely based on events that happened to their lives. Got a headache yet? Donít worry, it all translates into a good game in the end.
Though you are technically controlling Ace, Runt and Abby throughout the game, it cleverly sells the idea that youíre Chicken Little and friends instead. As you play through levels, youíll not only hear comments from the in-game characters, but Chicken Little and his friends will also comment on what is going on in the game. Some of the comments are simple cheers of jubilation, but there are some genuinely funny moments. Some of the best lines come from Abby, who continually pokes fun at traditional gaming conventions like weapons conveniently floating in the middle of nowhere. At one point, an entire cut scene is skipped because Chicken Little isnít interested in the story, he just wants to blow stuff upÖ and that he does.
Gameplay is split equally between Ace, Abby and Runt, each with their own play types. When playing as Ace, youíll play through third-person levels reminiscent of Ratchet & Clank, only with fewer gadgets and less charm. Abby has access to a hovercraft and Runt drives a tank. Of the three, Ace and Abbyís levels are the more entertaining, though all three tend to become repetitive. Levels are very straightforward and usually have you repeating the same actions. Earlier levels donít suffer from as much repetition as latter ones, making them more enjoyable.
Between levels, you can purchase upgrades for all three characters using ďacorniumĒ which you collect during levels and by completing bonus tasks. Upgrades include better shields and more powerful weapons. Upgrades are pricey, so expect to run through levels multiple times or hit all of the bonus objectives if you want to max out all three characters.
Acornium is also used to purchase two-player games where you battle for points in either the hovercraft or tank. Compared to other games, the two-player modes arenít that deep or exciting, but they work for younger kids and are easy enough that even non-gamer parents can sit down and play along.