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For Smurfs Sake
on 14 January 2015
For decades the movie tie-in has been a mainstay of gaming; if you have a big summer blockbuster or family film coming out, don’t forget the quick cash in game. However, as game become more expensive to make, a tie in game has to sell well be worth making and not many of them do anymore. One way to get around this problem would be to still produce a game, but make it cheap. This is perhaps what was behind the thinking with ‘The Smurfs 2’, a game that looks like a cheaper download only title, but came out on retail.
On paper the game looks ok, it uses the basic idea of the film and produces a series of levels like ‘Super Mario Brothers WiiU’, but uses the Smurf characters instead. One element of the game that does work is that the different Smurf characters have different Smurf skills; some can jump a little higher, whilst other defeat enemies easier. As a four player co-op game you can combine the skills to do more across the level. Like with ‘SMB WiiU’ the game has friendly fire switched on; this basically means that you will be knocking each other around the screen by mistake. Rather than retracting from the experience, this actually adds to it as there is great fun in the anarchy.
With the decent elements out of the way, it is a shame that there are several ones that undermine it. ‘Smurfs 2’ has only about 10% of the charm or intelligence that goes into making a ‘Mario’ game and you can feel it as the game progresses. The levels feel incredibly samey and even with the ability to go back and unlock new areas when you get updated skills, I am unsure that many people will bother. The game feels like a download title in terms of scope; reusing level ideas and assets etc. but it is not. If you have several children at home it is a reasonable co-op experience, I would just look for it at a more affordable price as it plays like a £7.99 download title.