Grommets will be stoked to hang 10 in “Surf’s Up.” Ubisoft has developed a simple surfing game that maintains enough spills and thrills to justify the purchase price for parents after their children see the bigscreen version. Nevertheless, given the pic’s weak opening, low interest may translate into poor game sales.
“Surf’s Up” game doesn’t make much of an attempt to mimic the film’s mockumentary style, which gave it a clever adult edge. It’s kid-focused only, featuring an arcade-style surfing competition that takes place at various spots around the movie’s Pen Gu Island.
Cody Maverick (Shia LaBeouf) is the default penguin surfer, and there is an optional practice mode where gamers have a chance to get a feel for the different tricks. The goal then is to win the competition and along the way accumulate points to unlock other characters, surfboards, levels and extras.
Ability to mix up characters and customize boards in the championship mode is a nice touch, because every penguin (and Chicken Joe) has his or her own unique surfing style along with strengths and weaknesses that match a certain board or beach.
Multiplayer option is a nice surprise, as so many movie-licensed games are for one player only. Not only does it make the game more of a social experience, but it also extends the game’s life after the single-player competition is over. It’s a shame, however, that the multiplayer option doesn’t include the ability to compete online.
Standard graphics won’t blow anybody out of the water. Sound effects are adequate and are generally drowned out by the 10 licensed music tracks consisting of pop-punk tinged songs. Pic’s voice actors all do solid voice work in the game, however, including a special cheer that can be used to celebrate completing an advanced trick.
Sometimes surfing is enough. The videogame “Surf’s Up” satisfies with the basics — simple gameplay, spectacular scenery, a melodically breezy soundtrack and a diversity of characters to choose from. This game will have younger players feeling those good vibrations.