We all know the stigma attached to movie tie-in games. They always seem to over-promise and under-deliver. However, Smurfs 2 has the distinct advantage of not having anyone with any preconceived notions about how a Smurfs game should play. This gives the game the ability to do its own thing and be judged for the product, not the hype. In the end, you get a better product. Smurfs 2 is not something that the hardcore gamer would be interested in, but if you have kids and some leftover nostalgia for the Smurfs franchise, you might be in for a pleasant surprise.
Smurfs 2 is developed by WayForward, the developers behind Aliens Infestation, Bloodrayne Betrayal and DuckTales remaster. They are particularly good at creating great side-scrolling adventures and luckily, Smurfs 2 is a 2.5D side scrolling adventure game. It also features co-op play for up to four players at once. To start the game, you’ll have your choice of four different characters, each character having their own individual strengths. You will then have to play-through six different worlds with five levels in each. At the end of each world you’ll face a boss. Once you defeat the boss, you will unlock a new playable character and move to the next world. The formula for the game is fairly generic and the game doesn’t really do much to show you something you’ve never seen before. You’ll find yourself doing plenty of running, jumping and collecting; the “holy trinity” of platform gaming. It doesn’t make it a bad game, but it is almost too simplistic for anyone outside the age range which limits the fun to be had in this game for most gamers.
To add some replay value, there are certain areas that requires you to use certain unlock-able characters that you may or may not have unlocked. If you want to finish everything this game has to offer, you’ll be playing a few levels after you beat the game. Overall, it is about an 8 hour “completionist” experience but if you just play the story it is closer to about 5 hours. This is a good length for a game directed to kids and it is just enough of an incentive to go back and visit some of the levels again. It also encourages co-op play which allows parents to go in and play with their kids, which is always a good thing.
Graphically, the game leaves something to be desired. It isn’t the worst game we’ve seen but it falls somewhere slightly less than average. Granted, you wouldn’t expect the latest cutting-edge graphics engine for this game so it can’t really be held against the title from a scoring perspective, but it is certainly worth noting. However, the 2.5D perspective the game takes makes the game look better than most platformers without having to shell out for a powerful graphics engine.
Since the game is a 2.5D platformer, it requires a particularly tight control scheme. Thankfully, Smurfs 2 steps up to the plate and it has a very good platforming scheme for such a simple game. It feels great and it definitely helps the platforming elements. At least in this department, the game stands above the rest.
Overall, Smurfs 2 is a middle-of-the-road platformer. It doesn’t do much to separate itself from the pack and has the unfortunate distinction of being tied to a movie franchise. However, the game does a nice job at staying true to the license and knowing exactly what it is; a kid’s game. If you have children, this is a great game for them to pick up and play. The game is very easy, the controls are solid and the game is very simplistic. You won’t have to hold on to their hand too much while playing the game which leaves you with more time to do what you want to do. It even has the bonus of solid co-op play, which allows parents to play the game with their kids. If you are looking for a game that can appeal to younger gamers, this game is something you should consider. However, if you are after the next great movie tie-in game, this may not be the one you’ve been looking for. We definitely give our recommendation for younger gamers and Smurf fanatics, everyone else should take a pass.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 3 version of Smurfs 2 developed by WayForward Published by Ubisoft
- Co-op Gameplay
- Solid Controls
- Overly Simplistic