It’s surprising, looking back, that there wasn’t a tie-in game for the first Night At The Museum movie. Okay, it was something of a surprise hit, but still, here was the basis for a potentially useful, action-filled family game. We’ve certainly seen worse getting the tie-in game treatment.
That said, after spending time in the company of Night Of The Museum 2, perhaps it’s understandable why noses weren’t pushed in this particular trough before. For this is a steadfastly unambitious and surprisingly lacking-in-action take on the latest film, which courts a younger, family audience but runs the significant risk of boring them silly.
You step into the shoes of Ben Stiller’s character, Larry, with the man himself offering up his voice and likeness. His voice his fine, though it’s fair to say that his likeness is just a little more challenging (but it’s not too bad).
Then, it’s off to the museum, where the game presents a more prolonged learning curve than we were expecting. In its opening half-hour you traipse your way around, getting used to the map screen (which doesn’t rotate in line with which way Larry is facing; a minor detail, but an annoying one), as well as the mechanics for jumping and taking action.
You’ll soon find yourself in possession of your flashlight (torch) and keys. The latter, for some reason, allow you to swing across gaps and knock over otherwise inaccessible objects. The former is used seemingly for anything but illuminating a room, and finds its main use in unleashing magical powers. Both actually are quite good fun to get to grips with.
Right through the game, it’s keen to make sure you know what you’re doing, but this really does begin to grate. Although Night At The Museum 2 isn’t the easiest game to fully wrap your head around at first, there’s nothing particularly radical to it and an option to tell the persistent offers of ‘help’ where to go would have been much appreciated.
Still, put that to one side and there’s decent enough puzzling to be done here, that’s generally within the grasp of a younger player. There are plenty of characters from the film to interact with and you can imagine that a fan of the movie isn’t going to feel too unhappy about this tie-in game.
They will feel shortchanged, though. Night At The Museum 2 is a full-priced title, but one that clocks in at just over two hours of gameplay to puzzle your way through. That’s a ludicrously low amount of gaming for the cash, and such a short game time should have been incorporated into the asking price. As it stands, it all but kills any hope of getting value for money here.