This popular television series has always spoofed other video games in their video game adaptations. So what was the next step for the famous characters of Springfield? A nice collection of popular video games spoofs elevated by tons of new content and a wide variety of game play, plus the two player co-operative play and a wide difficulty level of mayhem keep this high profile title from being anything but boring.
This game has more than 50 new characters plus the core Simpson family. Helium powers, burps, insanity and gummy elements all factors into Homer’s movements and powers. Lisa’s useful Hand of Buddha move and standard saxophone prowess play well here. She even gets to use one of her alter egos – Clobber Girl. Bartman also plays well here (Stretch Dude would’ve been nice too) while Marge’s character power also features Maggie and her powers during a short stint with the Springfield police force.
Players can increase the powers as they progress in each level, plus collect special items (Duff beer bottle caps, try-n-save coupons, etc.) for upgrades along the way. Unlock costumes, clichés and collectibles in each level (most players will need to sweep through at least twice to get all the goodies). Activate special moves by shaking the Wii controls (using both the remote and nunchuck) at different times. Overall, the controls and navigation are pretty easy, but the camera needs improvement. Consequently, this issue makes the puzzles and level progression challenging and irritating at times, especially in the Bartman Begins level.
Game producers have a knack for staging the action in many levels, cleverly done in the museum level, which is more fun to watch so make sure your camera catches the action. Using the trial and error (or cooling off and going back to the level when your frustration level is down) can be disappointing and the camera doesn’t help much. Conquering the level in stages hurts in co-op play because your tag team partner gets swarmed if you don’t make the right moves (just go where they can’t get to you in most situations – e.g. In the Bartman Begins level, get both Bart AND Homer up on the dinosaur).
Luckily, future levels are easier and more fun, so don’t give up just yet. Around the World in 80 Bites takes you to the Duff Brewery while other levels like Lisa the Tree Hugger and Day of the Dolphin have a more theatrical theme. The Mob Rules level and incredibly short Bargain Bin level are particularly memorable. Players must conquer 11 levels before getting to the coveted (in the story and in real life) Grand Theft Scratchy level…well, that has some predictable elements, but really, not what you might expect.
These issues are easily solved, plus characters will even help you with hints in their dialogue, but it’s frustrating until the trial-and-error discovery. The navigational/mechanic issues are small, but can hurt as well (e.g. getting on the ceiling bar in the Bartman Begins level). Sometimes pushing fewer buttons and accessing your environment are better actions. The actual physical spacing between the action can be awkward as well, but producers do orient your tag team partner in the correct spot when the main character is ready for action.
Predictably, game producers put some of the coolest levels near the end. The Medal of Homer level has a great open ended format (put more in the sequel please) while Big Super Happy Fun Fun Game level has great Japanese-inspired visual style. Other parodies of popular video games like Donkey Kong, Everquest, The Matrix, Dance Dance Revolution and mini games like Bite Night (yes, it involves Homer eating) provide an unprecedented variety that should satisfy any gamer. The excellent cut scenes alternate between 2-D and 3-D graphics while the humor continues throughout. Variety is the spice of life in this game series. The extras and immense amount of original content make this title a must have for Simpsons fans. The humor, collectibles and overall entertainment are solid, but the ease of some levels and relatively small replay value put this title just above average for most gamers.
The Simpsons Game is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Alcohol and Tobacco Reference, Animated Blood, Cartoon Violence, Crude Humor, Language and Suggestive Themes. This game can also be found on: Nintendo DS, PS2, PS3, PSP and Xbox 360.