Stitch must be the luckiest fugitive alien going. Having hightailed it from an intergalactic prison, his spacecraft crash-lands on Hawaii where, after a nasty collision, he ends up in a dog pound and is spotted by lonely orphan Lilo. Unaware that the blue-skinned creature is a more exotic breed than she believes, Lilo adopts Stitch and they become inseparable — as much a family as the one Lilo has been mourning.
So far, so predictable (for a Disney film), but both the story and these two spin-off games offer something much more than a cute tale about a sense of belonging. As Disney’s president of feature animation, Thomas Schumacher, explains, “It’s got Hawaii, Elvis and a space alien — you know, your typical movie.”
And these ingredients are just as appealing when translated into PC games. The Hawaiian setting is a cause for celebration and you get to surf to your heart’s content, adorn yourself with garlands and, a crucial element for all little (and not so little) girls — you learn to hula.
HAWAIIAN DISCOVERY is aimed at kids as young as four and, after a short video lesson in how to step and sway with style, you crack on with the serious business of keeping the dependably destructive Stitch out of trouble.
There are seven entertaining games in all, none of which is especially innovative (think pairs, uncovering hidden objects, rescuing the heroes from a pod surrounded by coloured bricks, and bringing parachuting characters to the safety of your spacecraft before they fall to Earth).
This doesn’t matter, as each scene is packed with visual interest. There’s plenty of sassy commentary as you try to keep the dogs in the pound under control and make sure Stitch doesn’t clock up too many traffic offences, by applying doses of caffeine to get him moving and spraying him with water to regulate his driving through a complex maze of roads and traffic lights.
Similar checks and balances are applied in the locals’ restaurant where you try to keep the regulars entertained while snubbing the out-of-place tourists. Each challenge requires quite a bit of mousing dexterity, which ensures plenty of frustration for kids of all ages, especially if you opt for the hardest difficulty level.
TROUBLE IN PARADISE treads more familiar ground, taking the form of a 3D-action adventure involving a variety of undesirables, including bounty hunters and native nasties such as scorpions and wild boar, as well as alien adversaries.
You can play as either character — as Stitch you must learn to move stealthily and acquire special moves to help you get around inside the island’s volcano. His main concern is avoiding being captured by Gantu and returned to face justice at home. He can only succeed with the help of Lilo and her special voodoo dolls — your best means of scaring off some of the most fearsome enemies you’ll encounter.
En route from Lilo’s Hawaiian home you need to retrieve a number of secret objects and complete a number of challenges in order to progress through the jungle, past the school and on to the volcano park for the final showdown.
Although you must first overcome some seemingly indestructible foes, there are prizes along the way in the form of clips from the film that you add to your gallery and photos you can display on Lilo’s bedroom wall. Best of all, though, you are cheered on by The King himself. Assuming recent releases from Gareth Gates and Junkie XL haven’t ruined your enjoyment of Elvis forever, this is the sort of canny bonus that adult as well as younger gamers will appreciate.
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: Disney Interactive