For fun’s sake, Felix! Fix it already!
When Disney released the trailer for this November’s upcoming Wreck-It Ralph, the reaction among Gamezebo writers was one of near-unanimous joy. And then, almost immediately, our wheels began turning. “Disney has to be releasing a Fix-It Felix video game, right? They’d be crazy not to!” As of tonight, however, the big D proved they’re most definitely not crazy. Or that they have freaky hearing.
Added today to the movie’s portal on Disney’s main website, Fix-It Felix is a pitch perfect replica of the game as it’s shown in the movie. You play “Fix-It Felix,” a happy-go-lucky tradesman in the city of Nicetown. So naturally, when “Wreck-It Ralph” runs afoul and starts to disturb the citizens by breaking the windows in their apartment building (which seems to double as the only building in town), it’s your job to clean up the mess.
What ensues is an an endless chase up a series of windowsills; a race to patch windows with your trusty hammer before Ralph can rain his bricks down on the glass – and your head – below. Only fast reflexes and mastery of the arrow keys will save you from getting hit and losing one of your three precious lives. Especially as you get higher up and have not only bricks but passing birds and stubborn shutters blocking your way. And yet because of the joys of flash gaming, a retry is just another click away… take that, bag of quarters!
In all seriousness, though, what Fix-It Felix might lack in change-draining historical accuracy, it more than makes up for in retro fan service. The entire set-up is one big wink-and-a-nod to classic Donkey Kong, from your overall-clad protagonist to the game’s brutish, projectile-tossing boss you can never quite beat.
Sure not to miss a spot, though, the team at Disney went over everything with a double coat of nostalgia, delivering the perfect 8-bit beeps and boops to sync up with the actions of Felix and Ralph, the “go-get-em” music, and the iconic sounds of victory and defeat. An epic battle between good and evil told in the chip tune symphony of your childhood.
Even better, the gameplay takes you back to a time of simple goals, hits that meant the world, and the feeling that perfection is within your reach. Like all the best and most frustrating arcade games of yesteryear, dead simple controls absorb you right away into Felix’s world. “I can move around and hit the space bar, this should be simple!”
From there, the chaotic randomness of Ralph’s falling bricks, passing birds, and shutters you didn’t see coming all call into question just how good you are. And suddenly simple isn’t enough. Now you’ve got to be better. Got to best the chaos with your focus and twitch reflexes. Even rewards aren’t enough any more. You make it to level 10 and boost your life total with a couple pies from citizens of Nicetown tower, but by then, level 20 is all you can think about. A couple of tries, and you’re almost sure to be lost. Back in a world where there was only one achievement: the high score.