Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events «

A cell phone game based on a kid-targeted movie license that features about zero action. Sounds like an unfortunate event for me as a 20-something hardcore gamer/reviewer, right? Not so fast, bucko. Lemony Snicket is actually an entertaining little romp that any gamer can have an hour of fun or so with.

The game follows the movies and stories pretty closely. As such, three orphans keep getting stuck with their distant relative, Count Olaf (played by Jim Carrey in the movie), who’s only out for their inherited fortune. These three have to complete tasks that range from cooking dinner to finding out what happened to their missing, and presumed dead, aunt.

Solving each mission involves switching between the three siblings and exploring their surroundings. Each one has his or her own unique abilities, which you must capitalize on to be successful. Oldest sister Violet’s height is an advantage, and she’s quite the inventor. Brother Klaus is a bookworm whose physical strength will come into play. Baby Sunny has some extremely sharp teeth, and can get into small spaces.

Count Olaf is bad. Bad, I say!

Snicket uses a 3D, three-quarter overhead view, like your basic Zelda. In order to keep your fingers from tangling, interacting with objects is as easy as stepping into the yellow border around them. There, you’ll find a smartly written description of said item. It’s up to you to figure out which objects to talk to and when to further the story. For example, you must make a snake trap for your uncle before his expedition to Peru. This entails reading up on Peru (find book in bookshelf), find where in Peru he’s going (Sunny bites yardstick into smaller piece, then views map), and then constructing the trap with items strewn around the house.

You can either put a little thought into where to search, or just run around aimlessly hitting objects until you find the right one. While I got a little sick of the scavenger hunt sometimes, it’s refreshing when compared to another jumpy-shooty side-scroller, which we’ve all played way too many times. The style of the text and dialogue is clever, and using each sib’s skills adds another dimension. I especially like how Count Olaf causes your handset to vibrate — initiating a Pavlovian response to hate him that much more.

Snicket is a short game, and can be beaten in about the time it takes to do a load at the Laundromat (or an hour, for you hoity-toity types who own your own washer/dryer). But that time is spent enthralled with the game, as opposed to just drudging through it. Exploration on a wireless game is a nice touch, the graphics are pretty good, and I really like the theme music. Download this game next time you’re stuck waiting at the doctor’s office or DMV, and it’ll be a couple of bucks well spent.


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