THQ showed off an early version of its upcoming Heavy Iron-developed Ratatouille on the Xbox 360 and Wii at its press event tonight. The game is based on the upcoming Disney/Pixar film of the same name and mixes rat-centric platforming with an expanded take on the movie's story. Though the game wasn't playable, THQ reps were on hand demoing work-in-progress versions of the Wii and Xbox 360 game to give us an idea of what to expect.
The game uses the movie's story as its core and hits all the major plot points. The action centers around Remy, a French rat with big dreams of becoming a chef. Of course, given the pretty low number of world-renowned French rat chefs, Remy has more than a few obstacles to overcome. Rather than have the adventure offer a play-by-play of the film, the game will have a good chunk of its action take place in between the movie action, in a mix of locales that include those in the film and some made for the game.
The demo at the press event showed off a handful of areas that included the courtyard, marketplace, sewers, "somewhere in France," and a food-centric fantasy level. The areas showed off the variety and scale of the levels which Remy will make his way through in order to complete various missions on his journey to become a chef. The constant in the levels was their scale and the unique ways Remy will have to navigate them. THQ reps also noted that the marketplace level was unique to the game.
The gameplay in Ratatouille looks to be pretty standard platforming stuff, though you obviously get some wavy action going on the Wii courtesy of the unique attributes of the controller. Remy will be able to run, climb, jump, and tail-swipe to stun enemies. Thankfully this modest set of moves is supplemented by the ability to use items to help you out. For example, you'll use an umbrella to glide down from high places, use spools of thread to reach new areas, do some balancing on large novelty balls to mash bugs that block your way, and use hot sauce to deal with obstacles. The game is being targeted at younger gamers, but it should be a pretty accessible experience that, given Heavy Iron's track record with the SpongeBob games, should have some appeal to older players too.
The visuals in the 360 and Wii games differ, as you'd expect. The 360 game features clean, detailed visuals that are extremely sharp. The Wii game isn't quite as pretty but still looked good running at 480p. The game's art style stuck pretty close to the look of the film, but the fantasy-food level showcased a more whimsical touch. As far as movie content goes, the team is still working with Pixar to figure out what's going to be included in the game. On the upside, it seems as though most, if not all, of the movie's voice cast will be lending their voices to the game.
Based on what we saw, Ratatouille is looking like it's going to continue THQ's trend of serving up solid companion games to Pixar films. The game has its bases covered in the platformer department, and the movie tie-in should only add to the game's appeal. Ratatouille is currently slated to ship this June, in time with the movie, across all platforms.