Review: Madagascar 3 – Europe’s Most Wanted
Here we have another game tied into a kids movie, over time these games have improved, TinTin was pretty good, even Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs wasn’t terrible but some games just aren’t very good. Madagascar 3 is one of them.
Madagascar 3 – Europe’s Most Wanted sees the return of Alex, Melman, Gloria and Marty to your screens, they still haven’t made it back to their home in New York City Zoo, but they have hatched a plan, to join a travelling circus in the hope of returning home.
The game has two main modes: Story Mode and Circus Mode. In story mode the gang will put on a circus show in Rome, Pisa, Paris and London but before they can start each show they will need to take part in some missions in preparation. Thankfully Skipper, leader of the penguin troupe is there to make sure you are organised by briefing you before every mission. Each mission mainly consists of collect items and avoiding animal control who are out to stop you. Rather amusingly you are able to ‘disguise’ your character by pressing the X button. I was expecting them to throw on a funny outfit but no, it’s just a pair of sunglasses and voilà! I’m suddenly not a massive hippo walking through the streets of Rome.
At the start of each level you choose between one of two characters and each have their own unique ability. Gloria is the only character who can swim, she can also bump into boxes to break them open to clear spaces or create jumping opportunities. Marty can be shot out of a cannon and can perform large jumps when a Ramp is available. Alex is good at “landing on small things,” as the Skipper puts it (double jump), which doesn’t work brilliantly. He is also able to make use of his roar to scare away pigeons when needed. Poor Melman is able to violently sneeze to break objects.
During every level you will swap between characters to complete tasks to help you reach your ultimate goal. Frustratingly when playing alone your AI partner doesn’t always follow you around so if you get too far ahead with one character you may find you’ll have to do some catching up with your partner, which is pretty annoying when waiting for them to open up an area for you.
It doesn’t get much better either, despite this being a children’s game, it’s far too complicated to get to your goal, especially as you are meant to keep children entertained. There is some great humour as you would expect from the characters but my little boy actually walked away from the game and he ‘loves my Xbox’. Worst of all I found the game confusing at times. Having just played through Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs it was easy to notice the difference in difficulty, there are things to collect in that game too but young children could play through the game without worrying about that. Even the co-op is a pain, mostly down to the fact that camera is so poor. Again comparing this to Cloudy, having both characters on one screen would have made gameplay much simpler and easier for parents to guide their children around the level.
Thankfully there are some more enjoyable mini-levels that break up the main missions, such as an on the rails chasing missions in which you need to jump over obstacles whilst trying to escape from Animal Control. There is also a level in which you run round the city you are in collecting as many balloons as possible.
As I mentioned before these missions are all in preparation for the circus show our globe-trotting animals are meant to be putting on. Just before the show begins though they need to put on a small stunt show to advertise the circus. It’s basically a mini assault course with each of the characters in which they need to make use of their abilities, though it is more enjoyable than the main missions.
There are more mini games in store once the circus is ready, at least this time they are a bit more fun and children will enjoy them. They range from selling tickets and food by matching symbols with button presses and then there are the actual circus acts. Marty is shot from a cannon and has to collect items whilst flying through loops, while Gloria and Melman get to perform their tightrope act and Alex gets to show off on the trapeze. These aren’t particularly complicated and your little ones will enjoy them for a while but I can’t imagine they will be playing it for long. These mini games also make up Circus mode so at least the most fun part of the game can be easily accessed.
The Graphics and sound are pretty poor too, there is little variation in each of the cities and it all feels a bit dated. Add in the lack of real voice actors for the main cast and lack of creativity from the crowds in the city “oh la la, a tiger!” it makes for a really lazy title.
I don’t like getting down on kids titles, especially as most of them aren’t that bad but this was an unenjoyable experience for me and most importantly my children, if anything positive has come from this it’s that I’ve learnt that you can turn the phrase “avoid this like the plague” into over 900 words.
Review: Madagascar 3 – Europe’s Most Wanted Results
What we liked:
There are some funny moments in the game
No that's it.
What we disliked:
The game is a poorly made cash in.
Over complicated for children.
Graphics and sound were poor.