Toy Story 3 for the Nintendo DS/DSi allows you to replay key moments from the Toy Story 3 movie, as well as engage in a variety of mini-games involving key characters. The game has 2 primary modes of play: Story Mode and Playtime.
- Play as Woody and Buzz
- Nice graphics
- Replay any of the levels in Quick Play mode
- No opportunity to play as Jessie
- Only one game save slot
- Inconsistent game play/controls
Story Mode, as the name suggests, recreates the story of Toy Story 3. In it, you'll jump, swing, smash, glide and shoot your way through various scenes collecting special balls and unlocking "prizes" along the way. Prizes include both in-game material as well as DGamer (Disney's DS social networking platform) costumes. Story Mode has two different play styles: Adventure and Make Believe. Once unlocked, each of the levels can be replayed by going in to Quick Play mode on the menu.
Adventure mode in the Toy Story 3 DS game is the portion of the story that takes place in the "real world." You'll explore places like Andy's bedroom, the garage and the toddler room at Sunnyside. These levels are basically platform games requiring you to figure out how to get from point A to point B. Adventure mode is engaging and has fairly typical DS game controls, but it also makes use of some of the special features such as blowing into the mic to blow bubbles for the toddlers. Overall, these levels are fun and allow for a bit of free exploration around the rooms.
Make Believe mode includes the scenes where Buzz and Woody are in their own imaginary play spaces and doing activities that would have been part of Andy's imaginary play with them. Buzz might be flying through space fighting off alien robots, while Woody sets out to save a run away train. These levels are action based and vary significantly from scene to scene. My biggest complaint about the Toy Story 3 video game for the DS is that the game play is inconsistent. On one level, you're playing a certain type of game, while in the next you switch to something entirely different. The variation in activities during the Make Believe levels requires that each one include tutorial information on using the controls. I found the transition from game to game jarring and frustrating and I suspect that new/young gamers will as well. Also, with the steady stream of hints and instructions it's easy to get the feeling that you're being hand-held through the entire process.
Playtime is basically a set of tower defense games that can be played individually or multiplayer (using two game systems and cartridges). On each level, you'll place defenses (catapult, disc launch, toy darts) around your board in strategic ways to fight off oncoming enemies. You can also call on a friend to help. These are by far my favorite parts of the game and I only wish that there were more of them and that they required more strategy. With little planning on my part, I won the battle over and over again.
Overall Game PlayToy Story 3 for the Nintendo DS is appropriate for most gamers who are reading at a basic level. The dialogue isn't spoken and no audio cues are given. Controls are standard and aren't especially tricky, other than the fact that they change constantly throughout the game. You can't "fail" on the Adventure modes and dying on Make Believe levels simply restarts the level. There's no blood or drama here - your health bar just diminishes (or the timer runs out) and everything starts again.
The Toy Story 3 video game for the DS/DSi is likely to be the biggest hit with kids who love the movie and characters and who are already comfortable with the gaming system. Older kids will likely finding the prompting tedious and hand-holding annoying, but fans will easily look past that to relive the adventure. The presence of only one game save slot is a major drawback, both in terms of value and practicality. The platform standard is to have at least two. Overall the game is solid, but not the "Wow!" it could be.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.