October 12, 2010, at 09:23 AM

Mini Review: The Smurfs

Enough of the not-crappy-platformers already! Time for some late European licensed shovelware...

Graphics

Sprites are reasonably well-drawn, and backdrops are colourful and cartoony. For some reason, much of the game is presented in line-interrupt-fuelled “widescreen”, as if the PAL SMS wasn’t already squished enough. But for some levels this is turned off, especially those with the less-than-convincing rising water/lava. But hey, at least they tried. (Sonic had done a good water raster effect some years previously.)

Sound

Off.

Longevity

There are plenty of levels, although there is no appreciable plot or explanation of why you’re in any one location. They are at least grouped by theme.

Plot

Rescue Smurfette by getting to the end of each level in turn.

Fun

There’s a big spanner in the works here: dodgy controls. First off, there’s no attack, apart from jumping on enemies. Button 1 is instead the “run” button, which you’ll want to hold down at all times to avoid making it totally boring. But then you’ll find weird lags between the buttons and the movement, notably making you walk into stuff after you’ve released the d-pad.

There’s also often some ambiguity as to what’s a platform and what isn’t, more so when the graphics are non-blocky but the platforminess is still on a 16×16 grid.

Innovation

The rising-water/lava stages are fairly unusual (most platformers with chase elements go with horizontal scrolling). The bonus stages are decently varied. The game itself has a reasonable variety of gameplay elements like the river race and using birds as platforms which aren’t totally obvious. But I don’t want to oversell this – it’s mostly uninspiring and gives an overall feeling of low standards.

Conclusion

Diverting but ultimately no more than you’d expect, and not entertainingly bad.


Mini Review Ratings