Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures Ep. 3: Muzzled Review: Who Let The Dogs Out?
Another month, another episode of “Wallace & Gromit.” Unlike the previous two episodes, episode three of “The Grand Adventures” series one focuses more heavily on Gromit, and you spend most of your time playing as him. This won’t come as a surprise though, as the plot is focused on lost dogs (who are cute enough to make grown men lose their puberty). It is definitely a change of pace from the rest of the series, but is it enough to redeem itself from the disappointing “The Last Resort” while besting “Fright of the Bumblebees”?
The plot is as follows: the local puppy shelter has been destroyed by a violent storm, leaving three homeless dogs running around the streets, terrorizing the citizens of West Wallaby Streets. Wallace decides to create an invention to help raise funds for the puppy shelter by creating the Infiniflavor Ice Cream Maker, an invention on four wheels will take any sample you provide and create an ice cream flavor for it. Fortunately for our protagonists, a man by the name of Monty Muzzle steps in and offers his fund raising fair to help with the rebuilding of the shelter. As a token of appreciation, he takes the three homeless dogs into his arms for the time being until the shelter is fully up and running. Gromit begins to suspect something is wrong, while Wallace is just as absent minded as always.
What makes this episode so unique is that it doesn’t follow the typical structure of the other episodes of “Wallace and Gromit” or any other TellTale games. Most of the attention is completely focused on Gromit, making the storyline more along the lines of the classic “show and not tell” stance and it works wonderfully. It’s a refreshing change of pace and since Gromit does have some personal stake in this, it makes more sense to control him most of the time instead of forcing us to play as Wallace just because it’s “tradition.” Switching the characters around was a more than welcome change.
The character development is what really makes this episode so great. The homeless dogs are cute as hell, despite some glaring mental issues they have. For example, one tiny dog constantly shakes, and is scared of everything (Wallace decides to name him Twitch), while another dog who seems to grab anything that is gold plated will pretend he is dead if he hears a loud bang. Obviously, there’s something very flawed about these dogs, but, nonetheless, they are incredibly cute characters.
As cute as the pups are, the star of the show is the episode’s antagonist, Monty Muzzle. He is an extremely well developed character, even moreso than the reoccurring characters in West Wallaby Street, and spouts several ridiculously funny lines throughout the game. Give him a pie that he doesn’t like and he’ll spit out a paragraph long insult on just how horrible that pie tasted, while retreading old horrible memories. It would be unfortunate if this would be the last time we see him, since he is such a great character.
However, and perhaps the most important part, this adventure game finally hits the sweet spot between logic and creativity. Unlike “The Last Resort,” the puzzles here are enjoyable, and make sense. They are not extremely difficult, but definitely have some creativity and humor injected into them. “Muzzled”’s puzzles are focused around the fair games, instead of just grabbing random objects around town. This really makes these challenges come across as extremely unique; think - trying to beat a chicken in a game of Tic Tac Toe or guess the number of gum balls in a jar.
The only few gripes I have about this game is the lack of difficulty, and the climax is identical to the one in “Fright of the Bumblebees.” Plus, because there isn’t replayability and it is currently for on sale for $34.99 on Steam, the game seems a little overpriced. Despite these flaws, this is definitely the best episode out of three so far, as it combines great characters, plot, and creative puzzles. This would’ve easily fit in as a normal Wallace & Gromit short movie and I hope we get see more of Monty Muzzle later on in the series.
“Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Adventures Ep. 3: Muzzled” was released on June 16th for PC, and TBD for Xbox Live Arcade. The version reviewed was the PC version.