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Game Review: Rio (PS3 Version ~ Also on Xbox360)

Party games are in very short supply in this day and age – the genre appears to have gone into a slumber. Time for Rio to wake it up – carnival style!

The Concept

Rio tracks the journey of Blu, a blue birdy. Through taking snippets from the actual film, we embark on an up to four player mini game fest based on the various locations in the film.

The Gameplay

Usually the mini-game genre is all about fitting as many different quick fire games onto the disc as possible. Rio packs 40 but when you delve deeper not all is quite what it seems. Most of the games boil down to one of three things. Collecting fruit and banking them before something takes the fruit away, aiming at things with cross hairs or arrow markers or running around dodging or throwing things at other players. Throw in a couple of Simon Says games and we’ve pretty much covered the entire game. What feels fresh and fun in the first few stages of the story mode goes from feeling familiar to stale by the end of it – especially if you’re playing on your own. The controls also suffer sometimes from a slight delay in order to line up shots and throws on certain axis and this can occasionally make the game feel clunky too. I completed story mode in a single sitting and although that offers up the vast majority of the mini-games in that mode, I had to take a break from the game before I could be bothered to search for the rest. Too samey all round.

The Graphics / Sound

While Rio has no real graphical thrills everything serves its purpose well. Most games take place in a square arena where there are no weird surprises by difficult viewpoints and there’s no evidence of slowdown at all. As in most party games, sounds and character quips are included and they represent the characters well.

RePlay Factor

Rio as a single player game is quite cumbersome. Add in three players locally (no online modes) and finally we have a decent game for an hour to muck about on. However despite having some different ways of stretching the content (a game show mode, a quiz on the film) you’ll come away from the game quite quickly again as while its mildly entertaining, it’s never truly fun due to the fact that the games are almost uniformly based on the three scenarios above and they can all be very easy to master after two attempts. Draws on points are not handled well either where everyone just gets ranked randomly.

Positives

~Nice to have a proper party game on the next-gen consoles again

~Mildly entertaining for an hour or two…

Negatives

~…tops

~Feels like 6 mini games spread very thinly

~Feels clunky and tired control wise

The Verdict

Rio is not enough butter spread too thinly over far too much bread. Had the games had more variety, this game could have become a sleeper hit. As it is, it feels like Rio-lite.

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