The Simpsons Game - Nintendo DS Review
The Simpsons Game for the DS is an excellent mix of platforming and puzzle-solving, and although the ride is over way to early, it definitely offers a fair share of engaging gameplay elements, a funny story, and colorful Simpsons characters.
Fans of The Simpsons have been left somewhat high and dry when it comes to video games. With so many games created for the license, it’s a shame that most of them have really only reached mediocrity. The Simpsons Game is by no means at the level of the infamous Simpsons Arcade Game, but it does have enough great content in it to recommend to fans of the franchise.
The Simpsons Game begins with Bart getting his brand new copy of Grand Theft Scratchy taken away by Marge. While walking down an alley, he stumbles upon a video game instruction manual which states that each of the Simpsons has a special superpower. At first, the Simpson family uses these powers to do things such as stop a robbery, put an end to a deforestation mill, and get Grand Theft Scratchy banned. However, it isn’t very long before strange things begin happening around Springfield, and the Simpsons are forced to use their superpowers for more than just everyday happenings.
Gameplay in The Simpsons Game is a mix of platforming, brawling, and light puzzle-solving. You’ll guide two characters through each stage and have them work cohesively to reach the end of the level. Certain areas of every stage remain locked until a character fulfills a specific requirement, and this is where each character’s special ability comes into play. Bart can turn into Bartman and glide over gaps, use his slingshot, and reach great heights by using a grappling hook. Homer can turn into a ball and destroy obstacles or use his heavy weight to stomp down on switches. Lisa can use her Hand of Buddha ability to move objects telekinetically. Lastly, Marge can use her mob ability to enlist the aid of nearby civilians. These are just a few of the many abilities each member of the Simpsons family possesses, and they will all be put to extensive use in order to progress through the levels.
What makes The Simpsons Game so much fun is its level design. Despite the game not being overly difficult in any area, there is a lot to do, and stages are long-lasting and really keep you busy throughout their entirety. The platforming in the game is well thought out, and the fact that two characters must work together to get through the stages adds an extra layer to the gameplay.
Aside from the main objectives, each level is full of collectible items exclusive to each character. These collectible objects add a bit of replayability, and you’ll find yourself hunting them down and seeing your collection of extras grow. There are also a number of video game clichés to fulfill in the game. These achievement-like situations range from falling into a chasm and dying to running into an enemy spawning device, and they obviously poke fun at the video game industry and all its quirks.
Graphics and Sound
Another area where The Simpsons Game shines is in its presentation. Despite the DS not being the most powerful handheld on the market, the game’s graphics are a great representation of the TV series. The colorful cel-shaded look of the game emulates the look and feel of The Simpsons series almost perfectly, and Springfield really comes to life on the DS.
One of the things that makes The Simpsons Game so special is that its story was written by writers of the TV show. The result: a hilarious, high-quality plot that possesses everything that has made the show funny for so many years. Characters’ spoken dialogue is witty, humorous, and nonsensical at times, and you’ll find yourself laughing at the many things Homer and company have to say. Unfortunately, a lot of the characters’ lines tend to repeat throughout the game; and while this does get a little bothersome at times, it’s nothing that will drive you insane like in other games where repetition is annoying beyond belief. Additionally, the game’s music carries a level of charm that fits right in with The Simpsons universe. The game features themes from the TV series as well as original tracks, and they all sound great.
The Simpsons Game is chock full of video game goodness, so it’s a huge shame that it ends so quickly. Getting through the game will only take you a few hours, and if you plan on gathering every in-game collectible and video game cliché, your time may reach the 5- or 6-hour mark, but nothing more. You can go back and play any of the levels or bonus minigames, and there are even some local cart multiplayer games, but overall, The Simpsons Game is a short and sweet endeavor.
If you’ve been saddened by the lack of good Simpsons games, then this is the title for you. The game features that classic Simpsons humor, and fans of the series will find the game’s writing especially enjoyable. Additionally, video game enthusiasts will find the game’s references to popular franchises such as The Legend of Zelda and Pokémon highly entertaining. For all its worth, The Simpsons Game is a highly entertaining romp through the town of Springfield, and those who can look past the game’s short length will find an enjoyable, solid title that actually does The Simpsons series justice.