Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

The Simpsons Game (Wii) Review

When EA announced a (rather ambitious) Simpsons game, we vibrated a little with vague excitement. The idea of running around Springfield and the wider world of The Simpsons solving missions and puzzles was just too thrilling for us to comprehend. So, when the game plopped onto our doormat we instantly shoved it into our Wii. Sadly, a copy of Thrillville: Off the Rails was in there so we didn't get very far. Restraining our excitement we ejected the disk, put in The Simpsons and hammered at A to get into the game. Was all this excitement and hubris worth it? Yes...and no.

You see, the thing with The Simpsons is it goes from the sublime to the ruddy ridiculous. At one point you'll be giggling away like a child who's just picked his nose and flicked it at someone's head and then the next you'll be as angry as the person who finds said green delight in their hair. The Simpsons then, is the videogame incarnation of a manic depressive. The format is simple enough, you're shoved into the virtual world of Springfield where all the Simpson family have somehow managed to get superpowers. How? Why, they're characters in a videogame of course. We could call it a 'postmodern self-aware critique of the conventions of a repeating and stagnating medium', but we won't because we're not idiots.

The humour is right on the mark. From the first instance when you try a double jump and Comic Book Guy pops up with your first 'Videogame Cliché' you'll be happy as Larry. Then the camera will get stuck on a bit of scenery and you'll die because of it making you very angry. The gameplay is sandwiched in-between little bits of animation scripted and done by the actual Simpsons team. If you've liked the humour in The Simpsons for the last six years or so, you'll love it. If you don't, then you'll like some bits and frown at others.

The game kicks off with a nice simple tutorial in the magical land of chocolate (as featured in an actual episode of The Simpsons) and then spans out as your characters realise that they are in fact trapped in a game and they all have special powers. Homer can turn into 'Homer Ball' 'Gummi Homer' and even 'Helium Homer', each one kind of does what you'd imagine, he rolls, he turns into a Homer shaped Gummi Bear and he is able to float. Bart can turn into Bartman, Lisa can play the saxophone and do with the mysterious 'hand of Buddah' (we'd guess the developers ran out of ideas of things Lisa can actually do) and rather tediously Marge can order mobs of people to do her willing by shouting slogans through a megaphone. Odd. Still, all these powers have certain upgrades that you get in the game to make them bigger and better.

Screenshot for The Simpsons Game on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The aim of the game is fairly simple. Normally you are placed in a certain themed land and asked to use your powers to solve puzzles. Depending on what characters you use on the mission (the game automatically picks them for you for specific missions) will change how that part of the game will play. Marge can only really use her mob, and Lisa can only do things with her saxophone and Buddah hand, so levels with them on will involve a lot of related puzzles.

Our main issue with the game is that it is mind numbingly repetitive at times. It relies on the tropes of the individual characters and the levels with them on all have the same puzzles. Jump over this, smash this, fly over this, pick this up. Whilst it makes a big deal about videogame clichés and pokes fun at the conventions of our beloved industry, it stumbles rather ironically by becoming an identikit platformer with some vaguely amusing jokes chucked in. At times you simply find yourself playing the game to watch another little bit of The Simpsons. In our opinion, you'd be far off buying a good platformer (a very good one staring a certain rotund plumber has just been released), or simply pick up Season 4 or 5 of The Simpsons on DVD, you can probably pick them up for less than the ruddy game.

Where this title really shines though (and makes us think twice about being so mean) is in co-op mode. It is seriously bleeding fun at times. You both take on a character each and you get to play through the game together. Admittedly LEGO Star Wars does this far better, but there is something rather entertaining about running around a warship as Homer and Bart killing lots of Wayland Smithers look-a-likes. The Simpsons charm remains intact, so when the game comes up with a good puzzle or an enjoyable level or two it really is great fun and well worth playing. The trouble is, you have to plough your way through a lot of dross to get to the yummy gaming fruit.

Screenshot for The Simpsons Game on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

The camera is absolutely diabolical. It gets stuck in things, it gets trapped in things, it gets confused by turns, it gets confused by jumping. You'll kill yourself more often than not because the camera just won't behave itself. Some excellent levels and puzzles are ruined by a lack of originality and intelligence on the behalf of the developers. Whilst some puzzles are seriously easy, some are so obscure and strange (not in a good way) that you'll be standing around confused for hours. Also, the Wii Moments (wiggle your arms about like a twit in a number of different mini-games) feel oh so very tagged on...probably because this are.

Graphics

It looks great and the cutscenes and various levels are all wonderfully well done. It has a charming style and all the colours are vibrant and lovely. Our main complaint would be that it doesn't really look next-gen and on top of that the various lines in the game sometimes decide to bend and warp and go all crazy for no apparent reason.

Sound

All the right voices, all the right lines and all the right humour. EA really rolled out the money-truck to make sure they got all the right talent onboard. Lovely music and lovely sound sampling are let down by some incessantly irritating enemy noises and constant banging and thumping in some levels that just never stops. It'll drive you nuts at times.

Value

It doesn't last a great amount of time and there isn't a great deal to see and do. No real replay value and no real incentive to play on even when you haven't completed it. Like we said before, buy a boxset or two.

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Average

About this score

We so wanted to like it and at times we really do. However, this is a game full of great highs and even greater lows. The Simpsons is a game let down by a hideous camera system and some stupid level design and a lot of very tedious puzzles. Pint-size Simpsons fans will probably enjoy it, but for the twenty/thirty-something that grew up with the yellow folk, this is just one very arduous disappointment. If you do decide to buy it, pretty please play it with a friend - you might enjoy it from time to time that way.

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16.11.2007

5

5170

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Developer

EA Games

Publisher

EA

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

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

I agree, I downloaded the demo of this on PS3, played it and deleted it straight after, its just horrible.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Definitely a case of the simpler, the better for The Simpsons Game then, since the DS version is actually really fun.

Shame...I've bought this Wii version for my little brother's Christmas present already! :roll:

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

How little is he? And also how easily amused? If the answers are 'very' and 'very', then he might just like it :-D

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

He's 13 and adores The Simpsons...he's been pestering for the game, so thought it would be a good choice. He's also getting Mario Galaxy, so it's not all bad! Smilie

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

Oh well, if Mario Galaxy is involved then he can't lose. Awesome game, I'm so in love with it, ha!

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

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