As a child, I lost countless hours of my life watching Aardman animations, with Wallace and Gromit wrapping up the package in a delightful little bow. While some of the humor may have gone over my head, I still can’t think of the moon being made of anything but cheese, thanks to the adventures of this cheese-obsessed inventor and his brilliant dog.
However, I never thought I’d get the chance to live out their adventure and partake in what feels like a proper Wallace and Gromit film, but thanks to today’s technology, The Grand Getaway feels like the real deal.
Feeling a Bit Peckish, Aren’t We?
This game took me on quite the adventure. I started at the iconic home of Wallace and Gromit on 62 West Wallaby Street, and after a brief stint of learning how the controls in this VR adventure would work, I was set off on a right proper journey. Throughout The Grand Getaway, I was placed into the shoes of both Wallace and Gromit, but my adventure was primarily played out through the lens of the Auto-Caddy, a revolutionary new invention by Wallace that served the primary function of being a sentient Golfing Bag.
With BERYL, the moving and talking appliance giving me the right direction as to what I needed to do next, I was off and ready to see what this game had in store for me. What I didn’t realize, however, is that I was essentially playing a role in a new Wallace and Gromit film. Rather than being an extremely immersive experience, this game plays more like an Escape Room, where I needed to solve puzzles and interact with things in the environment with all the charm and wit of a standard Aarmand film. Puzzles come in various shapes and sizes and offer plenty of unique challenges for players of all skill levels.
For example, while playing as Gromit, I had to find out how to make our rocket go. Without a Navigation Chip, I had to get creative, so I could slice a loaf of bread, throw it in the toaster, and pop it into the slot to ensure we could get proper liftoff to leave on our Grand Getaway. Plenty of unique moments make this experience stand out, thanks in part to the spectacular visual styling of the game.
With Aardman Animation contributing directly, Wallace and Gromit move, talk, and act exactly as I had hoped they would. The smallest details, from the texturing on the virtual hands, having a clay-like appearance, to the awe of seeing the size of the Rocket after crash landing on a new planet, are incredibly impressive. Even the interactable bits were packed with texture and life, it felt exactly as if I was in the world of Wallace and Gromit, something which deserves a bit of kudos.
While there have been plenty of Wallace and Gromit video games, none have nailed the signature style and movement as well as The Grand Getaway, even featuring the stop-motion movement on the characters as they venture around the environments. It’s a technical marvel to witness and still looks fantastic if you put it on the big screen for others to watch.
A Bit Tricky, Innit?
As the story unfolded before me, I was able to partake in various fun and unique puzzles, all of which varied depending on the character I was playing. While most of this adventure takes place while playing as Auto-Caddy, there are a few choice moments when the control would be swapped to Wallace or Gromit. While you don’t get much time in the shoes of Wallace himself, the brief moments that you do control him are some of the most hilarious in the game, so they’re worth keeping secret until you can experience them for yourself.
Gromit, on the other hand, is the brains of the adventure, putting plans into action for Auto-Caddy to follow through on. Everything within The Grand Getaway is full of charm, even down to how I was able to teleport. Need a hint on what to do next? Physically wave to BERYL, and she’ll tell you what’s up next on the adventure. Need to go to the next area? I had to bring my hands up to my head like a set of goggles and scan for the next point I could teleport to. No matter the action, I had a grin on my face, just as I would if I was watching the latest Aardman Animations film.
While puzzles are fairly abundant, few left me scratching my head, wondering what I needed to do next. During a particularly action-packed sequence, there was one instance in the game where I thought I did something wrong, only to find out that the game didn’t properly load in the next section. Thankfully, a quick return to the menu got me back into the action, and things progressed as they should, leading to a fairly bug-free experience throughout my time in the Grand Getaway.
However, some control issues do put a little bit of a damper on the overall enjoyment that is had here. For instance, a particularly frustrating section for me was trying to grab a plunger out of a cabinet, but more often than not, the grab function would grab the door of the cabinet rather than the object I needed. It’s also not the most accessible game, as it requires a varied range of motion, so seated players may not be able to hit something like an on/off switch tucked inside of a cabinet, as there is no crouch button. Hopefully, something like this can be added as an update to ensure that the game is playable by everyone rather than those with a full range of motion.
Speaking of time, The Grand Getaway is a short but brilliant adventure. Taking place throughout roughly one and a half to two hours, I found that this was the sweet spot for an adventure like this. It doesn’t overstay its welcome and left me with a great impression overall, seeing as it fell in line with the standard runtime of an Aardman film.
For less than the price of a ticket to see a film like this in a theater, you’ve got a replayable, living movie in which you can interact with some of the most iconic characters in animation history. For $12.99, I can think of plenty of other VR games that haven’t even matched the charm, wit, and enjoyability that The Grand Getaway gave me, and if you’re a fan of the franchise, it’s a must-play.
While some moments of frustration peppered their way along the adventure, primarily when it came to some dodgy controls and detection, I left The Grand Getaway with a massive smile on my face. It’s a beautiful adventure, full of charm, wit, and just giddy fun that fans, old and new, can appreciate while spending time with their favorite duo.
- Beautiful and dense with detail
- Great writing and plot points
- Just overall giddy and fun
- Dodgy controller detection at times
- Not the most accessible game for those with mobility issues
- Some may find it too short