Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure

So after months of camping out in front of stores in the freezing cold, you finally got your Wii. Like an eager child, you quickly opened the box and played through the little quirky system’s top titles. You’ve developed tennis elbow from your marathon Wii Sports sessions, you’ve battled from one end of Hyrule to the other in Twilight Princess – hell, you’ve even collected all the stars the cosmos could offer in Super Mario Galaxy. Now you’re looking for that next title to warrant your $250 white box.

As if I had to tell you – Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure is not that title. In fact, it’s no where close. Sea Monsters, has almost no redeeming qualities and puts up a good fight for worst game on the system – and that’s saying something.

Sea Monsters is based on an ambitious and interesting CGI documentary produced last year by National Geographic, which showed what many believe the lives of these giant sea creatures were like. Sea Monsters – the fine folks at DSI games have chosen to forgo all of this and make a game with little to no direction which consists merely of eating, breathing and awkward swimming. Yeah, that’s it.

The game revolves around guiding your sea monster through the murky depths of the ocean, competing in challenges and collecting fossils. Why prehistoric beasts are collecting fossils is beyond me – but most of the action, and the game’s – ahem – progression, revolves around your obtaining them. It’s through these fossils that new creatures (each with it’s own unique abilities) and challenges are unlocked, but you’ll be hard pressed to make it through the challenges through the force of sheer boredom alone.

Most of the challenges revolve around eating creatures smaller than yours against no time limit or oppressing factor. While this may sound easy, the game’s utterly horrible control system makes even the smallest tasks incredibly difficult and frustrating. Pressing A causes your creature to swim, while the combination of the nunchuck and moving the Wiimote navigates.

Let’s do a simple math equation shall we? Slow moving, lethargic sea monsters plus overly sensitive Wiimote controls equals what? If your answer included anything about frustration or annoyance, you’d be correct. The camera moves too quickly for any of the monsters to keep up, causing you to get turned around and lost in an already confusing map. What’s worse is the fact that when your monsters hits the ocean walls or floor, creatures have a tendency to merge with the walls and get stuck. When this happens there seems to be no other option than to move the Wiimote around like crazy, hoping that some sudden movement will free the creature.

You know a game looks bad when the best compliment you can give is “Well, the load screens don’t look half bad.” While the load screens ( merely a picture of a Sea Monster) aren’t that bad, Sea Monsters looks like a first generation N64 game, it’s blocky, pixilated and bland. More often than not, you’ll have trouble distinguishing your character from the others on screen. Yeah, it’s that bad.

Perhaps my biggest pet peeve with Sea Monsters is that it could be so much more. Sure, it was never destined to be a AAA title, but it with the inspired source material, it could have at least been a decent and game that actually served to educate kids at the same time. Instead, we get a game that no one, should ever play. Ever.