Shiny new toys
There is nothing like getting a shiny new toy, its fresh paint sparkling with possibilities – and Toy Story 3: The Videogame glitters from the moment you take it out of the box. Taking its presentation from the excellent movie, the game features bright and colourful visuals that look sensational in full High Definition. Woody, Buzz Lightyear and their playful buddies are just as charismatic as their film inspiration, bringing all their animated quirks and characteristics to your TV screen.
Not only does it look the part, Toy Story 3: The Videogame sounds the part, too. Starting with composer Randy Newman's catchy and familiar theme tune of You've Got A Friend In Me, the game is stuffed with exciting music that nicely clicks with your actions, whether you're collecting items for another toy or checkpoint racing on Woody's horse, Bullseye.
Topping off this terrific toy box of treasures is a cast of excellent voice actors mixing with some of the movie's vocal talents. The likes of Joan Cusack (playing as cowgirl Jessie), Jeff Garlin (Buttercup, the stuffed unicorn toy) and Kristen Schaal (Trixie the Triceratops) bring their respective characters to life with the same sense of joy that they do in the film - so you'll always feel like you've got friends in them...
There are two excellent gameplay modes wrapped within Toy Story 3: The Videogame's colourful box of fun. You're introduced to the first with a spectacular breakneck ride across a canyon and on a runaway train. Stepping into the cowboy boots of Sheriff Woody, your introduction to Toy Story 3 is a platform adventure where you have to defeat Evil Dr. Porkchop and his destructive spaceship.
It's a dazzling opening that sets the tone perfectly, mirrored by the latter levels where you also control Buzz Lightyear and Jessie the cowgirl, to complete themed adventures which test your agility, judgement and ability to accurately fire projectiles (such as little softball toys or lasers) at varied plastic, wooden and felt-made foes.
The second part of Toy Story 3: The Videogame is where you create your own tale of toy wonder rather than following the narrative path of the films. Woody's Roundup Toy Box mode throws you into an open world where you're the sheriff of a new town filled with toys living there. By picking Woody, Buzz or Jessie, your job is to roam through the settlement completing quests for your townsfolk and making the place as nice to live in as possible.
So, what's first on the list, sheriff? Do you decorate the town hall in new colours? What about rounding up some sneaky, thieving bandits and throwing them into jail? Maybe you want to introduce some new citizens into the town and give them some fresh clothing and hairstyles. You can also buy new buildings and accessories, some of which alter the town in unpredictable and entertaining ways.
There's so much to do and enjoy that you don't even have to take part in the missions - you can just take a stroll around your town and interact with the toys there, playing with colourful goo to change the size of objects and people, taking a ride on Bullseye, finding new areas, painting buildings, taking pictures to post on the town's billboards and playing one of the many mini-games available. A helpful hint system means you'll never be stuck on what your next move should be, while the considerate learning curve makes the game ideal for kids and adults alike.
Like any good toy, Toy Story 3: The Videogame rewards exploration, experimentation and imagination - and with such a massive range of activities to enjoy there's always something to keep you happy, to infinity... and beyond.
Terrific toys for two
Toy Story 3: The Videogame is all about playing well with others, although the developer doesn't just mean other toys. With a friend on hand you can journey through the game's open world Toy Box mode co-operatively. Selecting two characters from the choice of Sheriff Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Jessie the cowgirl (and you can unlock Emperor Zurg as a controllable toy exclusive to PlayStation 3), you and your friend can claim rewards for completed objectives together, earn gold stars for side missions and paint the town red... or black... or any other colour you wish...
The second player can drop in and out whenever they want, making the game accessible and fun, especially as the screen splits into two to let you both explore any areas that you want to at the same time. Of course if you want to stay close together throwing softballs and each other around the town, you can do that too. It's a brilliant and thoughtful feature which makes Toy Story 3: The Videogame the ideal game for parents and children to play together.