Review by SneakTheSnake
Kind of a pleasant surprise, or an unpleasant one. Depends on how you look at it.
I didn't expect this game to be one in the same category as the likes of Mario vs. Donkey Kong, but here we are. This particular licensed game holds a lot more in common with Lemmings than Super Mario Bros.; what's offered here isn't bad, really. It's a little unoriginal, and it's a bit too difficult for whom I would assume is the target demographic, but more experienced players might get a kick out of this game.
Gru is up to similar tricks in this game as in the film. He wants to build a powerful weapon, and his minions must go out and collect trinkets in a series of 2D puzzle-platforming goodness to help Gru in his mission. The stages take place in small, contained rooms filled with platforms and obstacles, and players can assist the mischievous minions in the quest. I say "assist" because one doesn't control the minions directly; after tapping them with the stylus, they move on their own, and players can intervene by pressing buttons on the elevators they step into, activating springs they walk over and the like.
The trick is that each level has particular "skill" minions. There is one, for example, who can shrink and fit through small spaces. There is another who can freeze large pools of water, as well as any enemies that cross their path. Yet another can walk through fire. These do not appear on every stage; rather, they appear only in the designated stages. The main goal is to direct the main minion to the goal with the main trinket in hand; subgoals include collecting the other trinkets and making it through the exit in time and with enough points to earn a medallion. Taking "skill minions" to the exit is also a secondary goal; getting all the skill minions to the goal within 10 seconds after the main minion makes it to the exit garners extra points.
The difficulty curve is steep with this one. The game takes a little time to introduce the game's main concepts, and then the game really takes off, and quickly. Each stage seems to have its own particular obstacle, like teleportation tubes or vicious piranhas, but the game doesn't let players soak in much. It won't be very long before younger players (and perhaps even more experienced ones as well) will get stumped. With the game's time limit of 90 seconds per stage, as well as the tricky stage layouts, it won't take long to hit a speed bump.
It's fun, but it's a bit too hard for the target audience. That would be my only complaint with this game. It's not starved for content either; there are bonus levels to unlock which have a greater heap of challenge than the main campaign. The graphics aren't even too bad; I like the rendered 2D characters and the colorful backgrounds. The game moves along with some mildly funny interstitial cutscenes and, while the game features very little voiceover work save for some grunts and yelps from the minions, the game keeps a clean presentation overall and features a fine soundtrack.
I would be wary of picking this one up for children, but players who are starved on the Mario vs. Donkey Kong series might like this game. Especially if you're a fan of the movie, this game might be worth a look.
Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Product Release: Despicable Me: The Game - Minion Mayhem (US, 07/06/10)
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