Wreck-It Ralph is an upcoming Disney movie that follows a “classic” arcade video game villain who is tired of always being the bad guy (“Just because you are bad guy does not mean you are bad… guy!”). Visitors to the official Wreck-It Ralph website have been able to discover and play the “original” or “vintage” arcade game from which he came, Fix-It Felix Jr. (which we figure might be a sequel to Fix-It Felix, but that remains a mystery for now).
Before we go any further: In case it wasn’t obvious, this is all new material made to help market the upcoming movie, and none of it is truly old, vintage, or classic (yet), hence all the quotes. This is just how it is in the movie’s universe.
Anyway, Fix-It Felix Jr. for the iPhone is basically a port of this *ahem* arcade classic. And interestingly enough, just as with many ports of classic arcade video games, the home version is just a little bit different from the original.
Fix-It Felix? More like Peeping Tom.
The set-up is simple, and fits in with such early fare as Nintendo’s Donkey Kong: An angry Wreck-It Ralph climbs the Niceland apartment building a few floors at a time, wrecking windows all along the way. It’s up to Fix-It Felix Jr. to use his magical hammer to undo the damage by moving around with the four directional keys and repairing the windows with the hammer button. All the while, Ralph continues his tantrum, sending bricks falling your way. Meanwhile, ducks fly by and the tenants try to help out by placing pies on the windowsill for Felix to collect, granting him an extra life.
If you have played the website version of the game, there are a few differences to note here. One is that you are not limited to earning only three lives, though the time limit expiring will still end your game, regardless of how many you have left. It’s actually rather unfortunate, especially as the time feels much tighter in this version as you try to navigate obstacles to get everything fixed. Another is that while Ralph’s tantrum will now only cause bricks to fall down one screen column instead of three, they will actually manage to re-break windows you’ve already fixed, complicating matters further. This makes dodging a little easier, but also makes the timer a more formidable force to contend with.
A winner is you.
We also experienced a little additional difficulty on the iPhone version of the game, though your mileage may vary here. The placement of the directional keys hindered us a little, with the Up/Down keys right on top of each other while the Left/Right keys were spaced further apart. On occasion, we’d have to check our thumb placement to make sure we were hitting the keys properly–not a good thing to deal with when dodging flying ducks and falling bricks. In addition, there are barriers on the screen which are tough to see unless you really look for them. This would result in us thinking we weren’t hitting the directional pad properly when, in reality, we simply couldn’t move that way. Unfortunately, the game makes no sort of sound or other indication that your way is blocked.
Overall, we would say that the iPhone version of Fix-It Felix Jr. is tougher than the original, and not for all the right reasons, but it is still fun to play. It really feels at home with the oldschool style of video game which inspired it, and makes a great tie-in with the movie. In fact, it even feels like an ideal and recommended starting point for those planning to see how Ralph’s adventure unfolds in theaters this winter, especially with the free price-tag.