Reviewed:May 22, 2008
Released: April 22,2008
Dust off your hiking boots and don your Pith helmet for a trip to Africa’s Serengeti National Park for a photojournalist shoot of a life time. Grab your Wii remote for a picture taking extravaganza capturing over 30 animals in their natural habitat doing what they do best, surviving.
Wild Earth: African Safari is a great game for the whole family with your mission to prowl the African wildlife preserve of the Serengeti shooting animals with your Wii mote camera. This shooting adventure will not teach bad habits as you are capturing the animals in their natural environment on film and you can even save a few pictures you really enjoy in your journal.
Playing Wild Safari: African Safari for the first few minutes was a surprise and I continued to be delighted going through my assignments. African Safari is truly a well put together game and is definitely kid friendly as well as educational.
You start off on your African Safari photo shoot finding out how to use the controls and what your main objectives are as well as how to carry them out. They go through the main controls by showing you in your base camp like your really on safari for a magazine capturing images that are required for articles.
You have a main objective of going out and shooting one main subject like the Savannah in general or elephants with a number of required shots to make in the mission. You also have secondary shots you can take that are additional points for things interesting in the area that add to your score.
Each mission has a varying number of photos required in order to pass the mission but this should not be a problem, there are plenty of opportunities to take the correct pictures. In each mission you have to be careful about getting too close to your subjects as they will either get spooked or aggressive and go on the offensive. For smaller animals this may mean a simple flight but for larger ones they may attack. If you’re attacked you can run away but you may also get hurt and have to restart the photo shooting expedition.
There is an red arrow that appears when an animal is too close or starts to hit you and if you do this too much you will have to start the mission over. A bar on the screen measures how much this happens and if you get hurt by an animal or bother them too much you’ll lose the mission. The missions are not all that tough and once finished you get to read the article with your pictures about the topic of each expedition.
If you did not get all the pictures there will be a blank in the spot for the picture you missed but reading the articles is just as fun as the expeditions. There is a huge treasure trove of knowledge here and a really excellent way to entertain and educate kids.
As well as learning about the animals and Africa from the articles you will learn a lot as your fellow Safari members help you get all your shots. This is a fun game as well as being educational and I had a fun time playing and did learn little tidbits about the animals that were interesting.
Each successful assignment opens up a mini game that you can jump into at any time after unlocking it and they can be pretty fun. The first one is an animal wash with you as an elephant to help your fellow mud wallower’s clean off. You control the trunk and get points for washing off the animals completely; large animals are worth more points but take more water to wash off all the dirt.
Animals look very good and pretty lifelike and about the best I have seen on the Wii with really good effects and animations. While walking through water you will splash it up into view on the bottom of your screen and the animals move trees realistically when bumping them or eating. At times dust devils appear in sandy and dry areas and dust is kicked up by animals in these same areas and when stampedes occur.
The animals do things like walk and run, wallow and act as animals normally do in the wild and the creators have even added in realistic things like swarms of insects. The effects like dust devils and the well done night scene is nice and really adds to the overall feel of being in the wild.
The mini games are not nearly as good as the main photography section but it works okay and the entire game is well put together. The only real noticeable thing about the graphics that detracted from the safari experience was the short draw distance while moving around and looking for animals. When walking the animals will suddenly appear in the middle distance instead of slowly appearing from small to larger as they should.
Animals calling and insects buzzing, birds cawing and lions roaring are all to be heard in the Wild Earth: African Safari game. The sound effects and voice acting were really good and I found no problems with any of the audio. The soundtrack for the menus and the main adventures is really good with music from Talking Drum Records with a decided African theme.
The music is one of the best parts of the game and is very fitting to the games theme and adds a lot to the feel and experience. Other than a few small problems with the silliness of some of the mini games and the graphics with the draw distance African Safari is a pretty good game.
African Safari is not exactly the kind of game that you just run through and measure the time played as you can also roam around and check out the various animals on the plains and hills of the Serengeti. With each mission you also get a really good sense of the objectives and a real world career using your picture taking and having them inserted into the articles. The eleven missions will probably take about four or five hours to complete and you can go back and play coop play that works pretty well.
In coop play you use a vehicle and one person drives as the others do the shooting with up to three taking pictures. The driver switches off with the others either at a specific time you choose or when the main objectives are changed. The coop play is pretty fun and adds a whole new depth and character to the game, it does make getting the objectives of the shoot done easier but also adds some fun playing with your friends.
Wild Earth: African Safari is a pretty fun game and even works well in the coop play with two to four players which is also a good time. There are some short comings in African Safari but they have done a great job of combining all the aspects of the game in a complete and polished game that works well.
Even though it is a bit short the game is very educational and even shows what cooperation in different careers means to kids growing up and learning about jobs. Wild Earth: African Safari is worth the cost and a great game for kids that are interested in learning about animals, Africa, conservation and some about a possible career path.