The film Wreck-It Ralph was a fun little romp through video game references in the theaters, and when I saw a copy of Wreck-It Ralph for the 3DS, I thought that it might adopt the things that made the film so great. However, while the game does at times make attempts to evoke the highly referential nature of the movie it misses one opportunity after another to really make that fun.
On the surface it seems like it would be rather simple for a developer to create a game that riffs off of the fake fix-it felix game from the movie. It would have been far better to just make a New Super Mario Bros-esque version of Fix it Felix, which would have probably been a far better game. In fact, pretty much anything that was more rooted in the movie itself probably would have been a better game than what eventually came of this property.
Alas, it is impossible to review a game that does not exist - so I need to review this pretty awful game that came out instead. Like most movie cash-in games based on movies that are ostensibly for kids, Wreck-It Ralph is a pretty badly built game with few redeeming qualities.
That said, Wreck-It Ralph is surprisingly playable. The mechanics are at least present, and it feels like a 90s platformer in the vein of Donkey Kong Country - but that is where anything positive about this game ends.
The core mechanic requires swapping between Fix-It Felix and Wreck-It Ralph, both of which have unique abilities that are required to progress through the level. However, instead of using this mechanic in any sort of remotely interesting way, every time the game needs you to use a specific character to do something it basically just tells you to do it, sucking any fun or interest out of the mechanic.
That said, the biggest problem with Wreck-It Ralph has nothing to do with the gameplay and everything to do with the levels. Not only are the levels extremely generic and repetitive, but there are only four levels in total, meaning that most people will finish the game before they even fully realize that they've even managed to start it.
Sure, you could say that the game is still good for kids, and I'm sure that certain kids would get an absolute kick out of seeing the characters from their favorite movie again and seeing the story of the film followed up on (albeit in a very half-hearted way) - but if you really want to buy your kids a game that they won't only like but will have some amount of staying power, don't pick up this one. Instead, pick up any of the incredible Nintendo platformers on the system, like New Super Mario Bros. 2, Super Mario 3D World, or even Donkey Kong Returns 3D - basically just buy anything that twas made by Nintendo and you are more than safe when choosing a game.