Toy Story 3: Operation Camouflage Review
Ten-hut, soldier! The plastic army men from Toy Story 3 have found their way onto the iPhone, and they need your help! Woody and the other toys are missing, and they need someone who can do some reconnaissance work. You know what that means, don’t you? That’s right – looking at surveillance photos and identifying items. Yep – it’s a Toy Story hidden object game.
Operation Camouflage follows the story of the series plastic army men, complete with the occasional voice work from everyone’s favourite drill-sergeant-turned-actor R. Lee Ermey. The events here parallel the story of the film without simply being cut and paste from what we’ve already experienced on the big screen. The original story is a nice touch, but it’s relatively shallow, serving as little more than a reason to jump from one location to another.
The scenes, as you might expect from anything that Pixar has had a hand in, look outstanding. As hard as it might be to believe, the still photos you’ll be exploring show the same level of quality that you’d find in the film. Everything is beautifully rendered, and considering that finding an object circles it rather than removes it from the image, we can’t help but wonder if Disney is trying to pull a fast one on us by using screen captures taken straight from Pixar Studios. Whatever it is they’ve done, the environments in Operation Camouflage look as good as the film they’re based on.
As gorgeous as the scenes may be, there are simply far too few of them. The game offers only four locations to explore – Andy’s Room, Bonnie’s Room, and two rooms at the Sunnyside Daycare – and each of these locations is split up to offer five different angles of the same room. While that’s technically 20 different scenes to explore, offering different angles has the unfortunate effect of many items overlapping into new photos.
It may be a small complaint, but we would have loved to have seen some of the characters from the film sitting on shelves or hiding in boxes throughout the scenes. Seeing them during static cut scenes was all well and good, but having to look for Woody only to find him under the bed would have captured the very essence the series. File this one under “missed opportunity,” Disney.
The difficulty in Operation Camouflage is disappointingly low, offering a great “my first HOG” experience for its intended audience, but ultimately disappointing grown up HOG veterans. Players can pick between an easy mode and a hard mode, with the only difference being the presence of a time limit. Easy is timeless while hard forces you to complete every scene in a location in under 5 minutes. It’s not terribly challenging, but with 9 objects in each scene, you’ll sometimes find yourself cutting it close.
The only penalty players will encounter is a 30 second punishment in hard mode should they tap three different areas in a row without finding anything. Considering how open and obvious most items are, this is rarely a problem.
Operation Camouflage almost falls prey to the biggest weakness HOG’s have on the iPhone – that items are too tiny to find – but a decent zoom and pan feature manages to save the day and make the experience much more comfortable than many other HOGs on the App Store. Even better, the game is a universal app that allows iPad owners to enjoy it on a bigger screen at no extra cost. Having experienced the game on both, we can easily say that – like most HOG’ – this one just feels more natural on the iPad.
It may be fun, colourful, and visually stimulating, but Operation Camouflage offers too little for adult HOG players to justify the price. It’s a beautiful game, but one that can easily be completed in 20 minutes. Randomized search objectives help up the replay value, but with the low level of difficulty there just isn’t enough reason to go back. If you’re thinking about picking this one up for the 5-7 year old set, consider this two dollars well spent. Otherwise, Toy Story 3: Operation Camouflage is little more than a tease for grown-up Pixar fans longing to see their films translated into great gaming experiences.