Shrek, Shrek, Shrek… Why Is He So Popular?
When the first Shrek movie came out, it seemed that you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing his green face. But as the movies wore on, they lost a bit of steam. Now, that doesn’t mean that kids still don’t love Shrek, and it doesn’t mean that Shrek games aren’t still popular. I mean, there are tons of great online Shrek games for kids, so do you really need Shrek games for your DS? Let’s take a look into Shrek the Third for the Nintendo DS before you head out to buy it though, just in case you don’t want to waste your money.
Shrek the Third for Nintendo DS: The Plot
The reason for wanting a movie based video game like Shrek the Third for Nintendo DS is the fact that Shrek is a likable character, and a fun movie, with a mildly gross, yet obvious sense of comedy. I personally caught each and every Shrek movie that Disney threw at us, and frankly I’d happily swallow up any movie they may release in the future.
Unfortunately though, I played Shrek the Third for Nintendo DS before watching the movie. This was probably a mistake because new characters were introduced into the games plot, which made it slightly confusing and too new for my likings.
The plot is basic and easy to follow just like in other Shrek games, but nonetheless a newbie character was added to my list of hero’s, and it took me a hot moment to devour the fact that he was a friend and not a foe.
Donkey basically pops up first and foremost on the screen, and begins to tell us a long and boring tale about what is happening, why it is happening, and what our quest is. I immediately wanted to mash buttons just to get to the game play, because the beginning introduction was long, boring, drawn out, and did not feature an ounce of Donkey’s humor which we all know and love from the movies. If there was any comedy during the introduction to the plot in Shrek the Third for the Nintendo DS, I must have tuned it out.
Our quest is relatively simple, we first begin with seeking out the heir to the thrown back at the kingdom. You see the King has fallen ill, and Shrek is sent out to find Fiona’s cousin Artie, who is the next remaining heir to the thrown.
Anyhow, along the way Donkey is turned into a parfait; yes folks, you see my dilemma? Donkey has been turned into a edible yogurt parfait. I know, I didn’t think a plot could suffer more greatly than that one, but this is what we are presented with.
Naturally, while away the kingdom is once again taken over by Prince Charming.
With the really ridiculously pathetic storyline aside, I was hoping that the game play would offer something of more entertaining substance. Unfortunately I was dead wrong. The plot was bad, and the game play worse.
Game Play (2 out of 5)
Our hero’s at the very beginning of the game include Shrek, Puss and Boots, and our new heir to the thrown Artie. What makes the game play so poor is the fact that you have to use each character during different specific sections of the game. Puss and Boots can jump really high, so you will need to switch over to his character whenever you need to access a high platform.
Shrek has the ability to slam himself into enemies, and he is the only one who can smash through walls or rocks. If there is a barricade of fallen rocks, you will need to switch over to Shrek in order to break through on to the next part in the game.
Artie carries a dagger and is able to throw the dagger at enemies while keeping a safe distance away. He can also stab enemies at close range, but it’s best to stay far away. I found Artie to be mildly useless considering the fact that his dagger is not very efficient at throwing, or stabbing. Artie also comes packed with a shield in order to block oncoming attacks, or to throw it at them.
Now the game play may not sound all too horrendous, but it is. At first the non-stop switching of characters is not that bad, and the graphics are nice enough to make you think that Shrek the Third is a good game, but eventually the repetitive switching gets tedious and very frustrating.
You can link up with the other characters when you are playing as 1. They will follow you like zombies when you are linked up, but the issue with this is that if you step ahead just a few short steps the link vanishes, and the other characters will remain where they are motionless. Having to go back to link up with the other character’s is really annoying, especially when you find you are doing it consistently throughout the game. If you do not link up, you will have to go all the way back to where the character last was.
Basically you have to work together in order to solve the scenes puzzle, in order to advance on to the next puzzle scene. It has a very similar connection to the way you must play LEGO video games. Shrek the Third for the DS is a game that is a combination of puzzle/adventure.
Donkey is not one of the main characters you will be using, but you can summon him whenever you are stuck or feel the need for help and assistance. Donkey will show up, freeze enemies, or levitate your character. I found that I did not need to summon him because the enemies in the game are far and wide spread. Basically you will only see 4 or so enemies on every level. Shrek and Artie can easily wipe out the enemies with little to no effort.
Controls (3 out of 5)
The controls on Shrek the Third for the Nintendo DS is primarily what kills the game. I could have looked past the poorly put together plot, and the fact that Donkey was now an edible talking healthy snack parfait. The controls though make Shrek the Third impossible to enjoy, even for a few moments. Combating enemies consists of sliding your DS stylus across the screen, and that is pretty much it.
Enemies do not vary much either, so don’t expect to turn a corner and have a herd of different enemies. In most levels, like I said, you are lucky to battle against 4 of them.
Other controls are used in the game, and they include blowing into the microphone in order to animate specific items in order to levitate your players, and you control your characters using the basic pad controls on the DS.
The top screen on the Nintendo DS is a basic extra which will display things that are at higher levels.
All in all the controls work pretty well, however linking up with other inanimate characters is deeply flawed and frustrating.
Graphics (4 out of 5)
The graphics in Shrek the Third for the Nintendo DS is seriously the only good thing that this game has going for it.
Shrek the Third impressed me with its colorful and lush detailed scenes, and surprisingly the graphics matched very well to those you would see in the actual Shrek films; a nice detailed PC animation is the basic feel you will get from the graphics in this game, which are enjoyable and nice to look at.
Many of the background scenes presented in the game though were repeated, or very similar to the last, which gave it that lack of variety in appearance. Granted the graphics were done with care, they were also overdone as far as repetition goes.
Sounds and Music (3 out of 5)
The sounds and music that plays in Shrek the Third is relatively lame rendition of some sort of medieval knights music you would hear in a medieval themed movie. The music however is fitting to the games scenery in a sense. The music however is a very, very low humming which is decent because had it been too loud it would have gotten very annoying, very quickly. Thankfully that never happens.
The characters are limited as well. Donkey is the only one with any real vocals in the game, while the main characters who you will be using only have 1 or 2 syllables of sound for when they are fighting.
How Is Shrek So Far?
Well there seem to be several areas in Shrek that should have been better and they just aren’t. Let’s take a look at the Multiplayer content as well as any replay value that Shrek the Third might have.
Multiplayer Mode (5 out of 5)
is an awful, God awful game when played by a single player. There is just too much responsibility, and too much repetitive linking, and back and forth sequences. However in multi-player mode the game goes from horrendous to, not so bad.
Shrek the Third In multi-player mode, you can link up with other DS owners who are within 50 feet of you and play a game with them. This makes puzzle solving, and movement of characters go much more swiftly and easily. No longer do you have to worry about dropping a link between immobile characters, nor do you have to keep running back and forth to link back up whenever the link breaks.
3 players can play together, and personally if you feel like you MUST have this game, make sure you have 2 other friends who have it, or will be buying it. Playing the game solo is just a repetitive, boring, and frustrating task.
Replay Value (2 out of 5)
Shrek the Third for the DS does have replay value, but in all honesty you will not want to go back and pick up coins or artifacts that you missed during the first run. Some of the puzzles, and tasks required to get a small achievement is not worth it. Especially considering how tedious getting through it the first time was.
If you like to pick through every nook and cranny though while gaming, there is some replay value, if you have the patience for it, that is.
Overall (2 out of 5)
Sorry Shrek fans, Shrek the Third for Nintendo DS is a waste of money. The entire movie saga is a heck of a good time, and provides entertainment, but do not expect to find that same comedic entertainment that the movies all offer.
What is so disappointing about Shrek the Third for the Nintendo DS, is not just the fact that the game is boring, and flawed, but this title could have really been a great game had it been executed differently. Had the frustrating puzzle aspect of the game been removed, and we were given an all out adventure/battle game, Shrek the Third may have not been so terrible.
Now as far as recommending Shrek the Third to other gamers goes, I will say that if you do not know 2 other players who own this game than do not even bother with it. Playing the game alone will eventually frustrate you to the point where you won’t even bother to pick up the game for a second round. In fact mine has been given away to my nephew, who most likely gave it away to someone else.
Initially Shrek the Third for the DS sold for $29.99 when it first hit shelves, which is embarrassing considering what the game offered. For me, it was a huge waste of money then, and continues to be a waste of money now, even at low, low secondhand prices.
Younger children will initially want to pick this title up, but frankly I find the game to be far, far too frustrating and annoying for younger children to even bother with.
The concept is cute though, I mean heck, it’s based off of our favorite Ogre; but the game is too boring, too frustrating, and too tedious for me to recommend it to anyone.