Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Review

What could have been a fantastic game is really just a series of unfortunate events.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the recent movie starring Jim Carrey, which is an adaptation of the first three novels of the popular-but-morbid children's book series. The strength of this license lies in the truly unique mood and character of the books, which the mobile version ultimately fails to capture. So what could have been a fantastic game is really just a series of unfortunate events.

From an early age, the Baudelaire children were fascinated by filth.
From an early age, the Baudelaire children were fascinated by filth.

In Lemony Snicket, you maneuver the three Baudelaire children through five levels while solving puzzles in three different environments, including the mansion of the sinister Count Olaf and the house of their cautious Aunt Josephine. In each level, certain objectives are presented, such as "Make dinner for the Count and his guests." or "Make a snake trap for Uncle Monty." To do so, the children must find objects around the house, which is done by bumping into things that are highlighted in yellow. When this interaction occurs, the children, whom you control individually and can switch between, react to the given object in various ways. For the most part, the children have similar reactions, except for the baby Sunny (who is fluent in monkey only), who will often have something else to say, such as, "I can't reach that." or "I should be careful around broken glass." The children's personalities and their reactions to their situations are in character, and fans of the books will find familiar references throughout the game's story.

Violet is particularly tall and particularly adept at inventing "anything you can think up," while her brother Klaus is both strong and well-read. Sunny, meanwhile, is a biter. Sometimes the puzzles in the game require the children to use their special talents, and sometimes a puzzle can be completed by any one of the three children. Through various clues and knowledge of these talents, the solution to the puzzles presented should be fairly straightforward. They generally are, but occasionally a task is presented with no obvious outlet, so you must run through a level bumping into all yellow objects with each of the children until your task is made clear. This is how gameplay can become tedious, but since the levels aren't vast, you should be able to get back on track in short order. In the long run, this sort of limitation isn't a good thing, because the game could have used a lot more depth. As you explore an area for the first time, you'll discover most of the things you'll need to use later, especially since there are so few objects with which you can interact. Had there been a lot more to the environments and puzzles, the game might have fared a lot better.

Hear that sound? It's the world's tiniest violin...
Hear that sound? It's the world's tiniest violin...

On the LG VX7000, the game's graphics are sufficient but not special. Of particular note are the pictures of the cast from the movie, which appear when that character is speaking. These cast pictures can also be found in each level and unlocked in a gallery on the main menu. The sound is very good, and it includes music from the motion picture. Additionally, varying sound effects can be heard as you switch control between the three children.

There are a few moments that are clever and cute, such as when Klaus mimics Violet, which will appeal to fans of either the movie or the books. These moments suggest the potential Lemony Snicket ultimately fails to achieve, however, which is disappointing when you consider the game seems to be on the right track. If you're a big fan of the series and are looking to kill a few hours, this game might hit the spot. Otherwise, it's not a strong enough adventure to stand on its own.

The Good
Familiar license
Use of movie characters
Cute puzzles
The Bad
Too simple
Too sparse
Not atmospheric enough
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Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events More Info

  • First Released Nov 10, 2004
    • Game Boy Advance
    • GameCube
    • + 4 more
    • Mobile
    • PC
    • PlayStation 2
    • Xbox
    Based on the childrens' book series and upcoming movie title, Lemony Snicket will feature platform-style gameplay.
    Average Rating577 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Griptonite Games, Adrenium, 5TH Cell, Activision
    Published by:
    Activision, Jamdat Mobile
    3D, Action, Platformer
    Content is generally suitable for all ages. May contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
    Mild Violence