Review of Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures Episode I: The Fright of the Bumblebees have added a British compound to their already stellar lineup of point-and-click, episodic games (Sam&Max, Strong Bad’s Cool Game for Attractive People).  Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures begins its four episode run today with “Fright of the Bumblebees.” 

Wallace and Gromit are the main characters of a British animated series developed by Nick Price of Aardman Animations.  Using stop-motion clay animation, the series depicts Wallace, an absent-minded inventor, and his silent, faithful companion Gromit.  In Telltale Games’ newest offering you will have the chance to participate in their adventure as you utilize your gaming skills to play as both characters as you solve a series of puzzles that will entertain, enthrall and occasionally challenge your patience.

The story of “Fright of the Bumblebees” revolves around two of Wallace’s new inventions: a cheese-sniffing robot mouse and a daily honey delivery service.  The robot mouse trashed the Grocer’s store the day prior and now you must deliver 50 gallons of honey for the festival that evening to make up for the damage.  You, Wallace and Gromit are on the case. 

Gromit getting the mail

Grand Adventures plays like any other point-and-click adventure game.  You walk around to all the available areas looking for clues or objects that will help you solve the puzzles to further the story line.  The first puzzle in the game is for you, as Gromit, to make breakfast for Wallace.  You must make an egg, toast and honey, but you must figure out how to get the egg from the hen to the pan, etc.  The controls are flexible since this was developed with both the PC and Xbox 360 in mind, you can use a keyboard and mouse or a connected Xbox 360 controller.  They have also aided us by framing usable objects to reduce the amount of pixel hunting you must employ.

The clay animation world of Wallace and Gromit translates really well into the graphic style Telltale chose for the series.  I was impressed with how smooth textures were and the amount of detail they put into each frame.  The graphics are very sharp for how little this will tax your PC. 

Wallace saves the girl

There were a couple areas for improvement in this offering, namely the music and some frustration felt during a puzzle or two.  While it was disappointing to find out that Peter Sallis, the voice of Wallace was not a part of this project, it was not much of a problem since the music often drowned out the voices of the characters.  My frustration with a particular puzzle or two is a little more difficult to describe since I do not want to spoil the adventure for you.  Let’s say that I had the item I needed and knew what I had to with the item but for as much as I tried, the game just would not let me do it until roughly the eighth time of trying to simply accomplish A+B. 

Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Adventures is an enjoyable and sharp offering from Telltale Games.  It is a game full of stylized graphics and humorous writing, along with little jokes written into the background to give the experience of living in a Wallace and Gromit animated short.  I look forward to playing the next wacky adventure entitled “The Last Resort,” due out in May of this year with the third and fourth installments coming monthly thereafter.  You’ll be able to find this on PC at the Telltale Store and on Steam, as well as the Xbox 360 LIVE Arcade.

I give it a 7.9 out of 10.