It’s rare for me to actually dislike a video game, but sometimes you just end up pulling out a bad egg. This was one of those times and it is safe to say that without exaggeration…Finding Nemo is one of the worst video games of all time. It is simply a sad experience and the puzzles will frustrate you to no end. Mix that in with the bad graphics and drawn out story mode, and you’ve got yourself a broken game. It’s too bad since I went to great lengths to finally get this game again after selling it many years ago. Of course…I can see why I sold it the first time around.
The plot of the game is just like the movie of course. Nemo gets kidnapped by some humans so his father and a fish that he meets along the way must travel to save Nemo. This leads to a lot of missions which will have you solve puzzles, navigate through dark tunnels, and play tag sometimes. In theory, this sounds pretty good…maybe that’s a stretch. It doesn’t sound bad anyway, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, I was about to be amazed as how sad it was.
For starters, the graphics are really bad. The whole game is so dark that you can’t really see where you are going a lot of the time. You just have to crawl forward and hope that an enemy is not there to greet you. The dark levels are almost unbearable at times and you have to alter the brightness settings on your TV to keep yourself from dying over and over again. It helped a little, but I feel bad for my TV. I definitely should not have to adjust my settings just for the sake of this video game.
Let’s jump to the worst part of the game right away though. There are puzzles in this game that are so long, so boring, and so artificially difficult that I can’t imagine how it ever lived in the final version. There is no way that the kids in this game’s target audience would be able to complete the puzzles. It was so boring that I would have to play the game while on the phone to keep myself from falling asleep. It’s essentially a Rubix Cube and you have to arrange the pictures without harming the others. That’s not terrible in theory, but with no way to reset the puzzle once you’ve started, you can constantly set yourself back quite a few plays and never even know about it. It’s madness. One level took me over an hour as a result..an hour on a single puzzle. That’s not cool.
The average level is more like 1-4 minutes so you can see the contrast. The puzzles don’t seem like they’re supposed to be so long, but it just ends up happening that way because of how they are constructed. It’s a shame since the rest of the game could have probably gotten a 5 or so, but the puzzles destroyed it. They’re hardly the only issue of course, but certainly the most important one.
Even the final boss is fairly annoying because Nemo dies due to a single hit. That’s present in the whole game of course, but you can at least gather little fish to protect you in certain levels. In the final boss, that is not the case. You have to tag Dory 10 times while dodging falling rocks that move very quickly and appear out of nowhere. It took me quite a while to finally beat the level and it’s not an experience that I would want to have again. The game is really just annoying and I feel like the developers did not know what they were doing. Just about any company could make a better game than this.
It’s also a little hard on the hands. You have to keep pressing the A button to swim faster and faster during the levels and it’s really hard to keep up the pace. There are booster rings that help with that, but it’s hard to hit them because of the graphics. It’s a bad mix of elements that combine to make each one all the worse. Let’s also talk about the long loading times, which are pretty sad.
I usually don’t even bother with the loading times in my reviews, but these are infamously bad. You have time to go and make a sandwich while the game is loading between levels. They just drag on for minutes at a time and it’s very uncanny. It’s not surprising once you actually play the game, but it’s like adding insult to injury. My salt levels would always rise when playing Finding Nemo so you should be sure to have a bottle of water at the ready during your playthrough of the game.
How about replay value? I’d say that it’s basically at a 0 since the game is no fun to play. There are some collectibles though. You can get 3 stars during each level by doing certain things. Of course, these things aren’t actually explained so you’re completely out of luck unless you’ve picked up a strategy guide or can find a good walkthrough. It would be a very loooooong case of trial and error otherwise to find out the requirements for each star. They’ve thought of everything haven’t they?
Overall, Finding Nemo is a game that I highly recommend avoiding at all costs. The graphics are terrible and make games from 20 years ago look good. The loading times make Super Smash Bros look instant and just having the fish float around while staring at the audience doesn’t look very impressive. The soundtrack is very bland and while the game only has 18 levels, the puzzles really stretch out the play time. If you’re curious about this game, watch some Youtube videos of it. It’s definitely not worth purchasing at any price and you will likely regret getting this game. There really aren’t any positives to say about Finding Nemo. The only promising parts of the game, like hopping across little lily pads, are wrecked by the fact that any contact with any enemy will send you back to the last checkpoint. Not having any health in a game where enemies pop out of nowhere is definitely not cool.