Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Nickelodeon’s Barnyard (GameCube) Review

Based on a Nickelodeon property, Barnyard: The Original Party Animals has recently been released as a feature-length movie comedy featuring the voice talents of Andie MacDowell, Danny Glover, Courtney Cox-Arquette and Sam Elliott. Now THQ has attempted to drag as much of the humour from the movie and inject it into videogame format. For the most part it succeeds, but it certainly does not live up to other efforts such as Cars (also from THQ). Let us take a closer look, though...

What you get with Barnyard in terms of its presentation is basically what you would expect – something extremely solid, but nothing particularly wonderful. As usual, the graphics are definitely nice to look at, but really come across as run-of-the-mill in comparison to other developers’ efforts that try to push the envelope that little bit further. And the same goes for the audio aspect, with your main character simply not speaking, others only saying one or two lines maximum to start with, followed by silence and text, with another closing line of speech. This side is especially disappointing in the way it is implemented. Clearly having ALL lines voiced may have been too arduous a task, but the way it works with ‘voice snippet – long silence – voice snippet’ seems so disjointed that at first I thought my game disc was faulty! Ah well, at least the world of Barnyard and its animal inhabitants are more than recognisable to the child-oriented audience…

What the game lacks in presentation is made up for by the way the actual gameplay is dished out. Much like Rainbow Studios’ Cars had a hub style element, with various different tasks to be uncovered in the somewhat free-roaming world, Barnyard takes on a similar approach. You wander around as the new cow in ‘town’, talking to various other animals, each of which has a mission for you to complete. Eventually, your aim is to gain enough popularity to become a welcome addition to the gang and imprint your name on the area forever.

Screenshot for Nickelodeon’s Barnyard on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Everything takes place from a third-person viewpoint so you get to see the cow you created (from limited choices at the game's start point) as it runs around on its hind legs squirting milk from its udders whenever possible (yes, even the male cows, for some unusual reason!). Running, however, is limited to short bursts, so it should be used in a timely manner...not that you are ever in any great danger or anything, though. In what seems like a throwback to Animal Crossing, you will be able to earn your own money, make new friends around town and even decorate your own barn! This latter aspect is particularly amusing since you can actually turn it into whatever you feel like thanks to the wide range of strange accessories and furniture you can adorn the place with.

Screenshot for Nickelodeon’s Barnyard on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The actual farm area opens up wider the longer you play and after you complete more and more tasks. Other than small search and rescue missions, you can always take part in crazy racing sections (avoiding the police so they cannot see that you are indeed a cow...driving a car...) or even have some fun at the expense of others around you, playing naughty tricks on them (some of which can be fairly amusing, in all honesty). Thankfully you do not have to wander around aimlessly trying to find the appropriate people with tasks as there is a handy map that puts a marker on the ones currently available to you.

Screenshot for Nickelodeon’s Barnyard on GameCube - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

And also quite handily, you will not have to traipse across the entire map on foot (a LONG process, I assure you), since motorbikes can be used as a means of transport, making life far less frustrating. In terms of how long this game will last – well, despite being nothing more than a through-away game, there are indeed stacks of mini-game and various other extras to get your hands on – racing, golf, darts and other sporting attractions make up the numbers and probably ensure that younger gamers will definitely be happy and feel like they are getting great value for (their parents’) money. Everyone else will be quickly turning off in boredom…

Screenshot for Nickelodeon’s Barnyard on GameCube- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

There may be lots of things to do within Barnyard and the layout of the world is quite impressive, but when everything put together seems average, it cannot hold your interest for long.

Graphics

Whilst sturdy enough, the game lacks any 'oompf' and really does not have a place on a system that is nearing its end of life where developers should be getting the most out of it.

Sound

Considering this is a licensed game, the inclusion of voice acting is normal, but it is poorly dispersed throughout and the music is painfully repetitive.

Value

With so many extras in the game, younger gamers will definitely find that this game lasts for ages. Others may become bored easily, but hey, that is not really the market this is aimed at!

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Mediocre

About this score

Whilst not the best game ever, Barnyard offers enough to entertain younger children, but older gamers would be advised to steer clear. For a game that is on a powerful system that is nearing the end of its life, it is quite sad to see developers still not using the GameCube in the best possible way.

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06.11.2006

3

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Developer

Blue Tongue

Publisher

THQ

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

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Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

I'm not surprised...


Poor Adam, he has to review this uneventful lump of code... Did you do something very bad or has every Cubed

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

We try to share out the wealth of crap that gets sent our way...in fairness to John he nearly always gets bad games the poor blighter. I like the look of this game purely because you control a cow, how cool is that?! :roll:

Trying to think of a witty signature after 'Hacker-gate'...
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Shame isn't it? Thanks for the sympathy Laurelin! Smilie

This is coming to Wii as well...I'm certainly not reviewing THAT version :-D

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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