You might have noticed that this review looks slightly different to other reviews on VideoGamer.com. That's because we look at games clearly designed for younger gamers in a slightly different way to other games. We'll endeavour to tell you just what you need to know in a clear and concise way so you'll be confident it's the right purchase for whatever your situation.
What is it?
An action adventure game where you play as three siblings (twin boys and an older sister), exploring their house and the surrounding area using a book for guidance. You'll encounter numerous puzzles and fight monsters. It's based on the movie of the same name and follows the story pretty closely.
Throughout the game you have access to a book which keeps track of your current quest objectives. For the most part what you need to do and where you need to go is fairly obvious, but later on things can get a little confusing. There's a lot of collecting and a fair amount of combat. Combat is generally a case of hammering down the attack button, but you can also fire projectiles at enemies - the aiming view roots your character to the spot.
As a PG rated game and movie, The Spiderwick Chronicles is aged at a pre-teen audience. This isn't a game really young kids could play, seeing as there's a fair amount of text and numerous menus to understand, but anyone who has played an action adventure game before shouldn't have any trouble.
Although released on the Xbox 360, The Spiderwick chronicles looks about the same on all consoles. The recreation of the house and surrounding area is excellent, and the goblins and other creatures are brought to life well. Voice acting is solid - although you'll hear a lot of repeated phrases - and there's a decent amount of footage from the film inserted into the story sequences.
Anything for adults?
The Spiderwick chronicles is perfectly playable for adults, but most will find it pretty simple. On occasion when kids might need some help there are far worse games you could be playing, and it's action packed enough to entertain if you're just a passive observer.
Movie licensed titles are often less than satisfactory, but The Spiderwick Chronicles manages to pair decent gameplay with impressive production values. Kids who enjoyed the movie or the books should find plenty to enjoy in the game.