Setup & Timing
Setup for The Simpsons game is simple and very intuitive. Multiplayer is right on the main menu. Opening credits are too long and are unskipable. Download time is respectable, especially considering that all four games download together.
Menus & Navigation
The menus are simple enough to navigate. Options can be tapped, and the menu system is programmed well (boundaries, buffer zones, and sensitivity). The fact that players constantly need to tap check marks after selecting their option (as opposed to double-tapping their selecting or having nothing more required of them) slows down the process in an unnecessary way and holds back the gaming.
Ease Of Use / Play Control
The Simpsons Game features no in-game touch screen contol, instead limiting itself to the button controls. Jumping works fine, as does attacking, however some attacks aren't always acknowledged with animations (even though they do damage), which makes it difficult to know if the attack hits or not. Jumping (specifically, souble jumping), is extremely tricky by comparison to all other in-game controls. The timing has to be just right most of the time because of how high some of the platforms are... they're not "just barely above single jump height" (requiring a double jump), they're at the very peak of the double jump's height which, while challenging, can seriously slow down a timed game.
Category Score: 13.5 / 15
The game has has a great, very appropriate look to it, maintaining the 2D look of the series and even giving the playable characters a pseudo-3D appearance to fluidize their movements. Colors and textures come straight out of the series itself. The music, while fine at first, is unnecessary and will become somewhat annoying, given time. Features-wise, the game does have some selectable options. There are four games to choose from, but that's not true: The Golden Donut and Kapture The Koveted Krusty (which should be rennamed) are actually the same game with different characters. There are four different maps available, each of the four accessable to each of the games. Game lengths, winning conditions, and team options are also selectable.
While doing some basic background research, I discovered that The Simpsons Game is actually the 25th (yup!) game based ont the longest-currently-running animation series. The quality of those games is generally considered dubious and unreliable, at best. This time around, EA did something smart. Not only did the get the voice actors from the series to lend their tremendous talents to the game, the had the show's writers lend their tremendous talents to the game as well! The Nintendo DS version of The Simpsons Game has two exclusive features. Pet Homer is one. Game sharing (Single-Card Download) is the other.
Overall, the game is a fun, up-to-4 player affair that allows for direct head-to-head competition with interaction, something a lot of games haven't had recently. There are, however, a few... issues. The game takes almost a full minute to load. Two of the mini games are the same thing, and the nice Simpsons theme, present in the menus, doesn't appear in the multi-player games. None of these spoil the game or the gameplay. They only effect the experience somewhat, but they do change it enough to make you think you're missing something. Despite all of that, the game is fun and will keep you entertained (for at least a little while). I don't review the main, single-player experience on this site (which is great). I know I'll be coming back to this game again and, hopefully, to a sequel.
Shorten up the opening credits sequence (or, at the very least, make the opening credits skipable).
Allow double-tapping of options instead of requiring the tapping of a red check mark, or skip the whole confirmation step altogether (there's already a "back up" option).
Fix the platform heights by lowering them slightly to accomodate Single-Card Download players unfamiliar with the game.
Include variable music options (different songs/sounds, selectable song/sounds in the settings menus).
Offer a Single-Card Download demo of the first level.
Rename Kapture The Koveted Krusty. Please.
Category Score: 11.5 / 15
Overall Single-Card Download Rating: 77 / 100 (a.k.a. 38.5/50)
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