Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted Review (Xbox360/PS3/Wii/DS)
Popular kids movies have a tendency to spew sequels on a regular basis and with those come the inevitable game tie-in. Movie tie-ins have never had a great run, but there have been a few gems that really stand out from the crowd. Madagascar 3 may not be the best of these tie-ins, but it does have its charms.
The story picks up after the last movie saw the crew escape from Africa. Trying to make their way back to New York, they bought a circus for more than it was worth, and are now lumbered with making it a success as they travel across Europe in the desperate hope of getting home to the zoo they escaped from.
The plot is updated regularly for the benefit of the kids and does a good job of setting the scene. While the original voice actors may not be present, it shouldn’t make much of a difference to the target audience, so it’s hard to fault the game since most productions can’t afford to bring the original talent on-board.
The game is colourful in its presentation, though level design is lacking somewhat in variety. Thankfully the levels are split up in such a way that the game shouldn’t bore kids too much.
The hub-style levels are designed to provide a puzzling challenge which allows the player to explore at their own pace, solve puzzles using the different characters (two at a time, that can be swapped on the fly) and there’s a host of collectibles for little completionists.
Chase levels see the player outrunning animal control in a test of reflexes, and once all the chases and hub games are completed the player gets to set up a display for a platforming show that will lead them to the big top of each city.
The circus performances take the shape of mini-games for each character, whether it be shooting out of a cannon or swinging on the trapeze, all the while scoring the highest points possible. Despite the change in gameplay, the goal is always to score points through collection.
It’s a little disappointing that collecting items is the only goal, considering that there are plenty of circus acts that could have been utilised in a different way, perhaps scoring points through tricks. There are a handful of other mini-games involving the cheeky monkeys which further break up the repetition.
Madagascar3 manages to create a better than usual kids game, that doesn’t rely on the same mechanic throughout. The repetitious nature of collecting balloons and scoring points could put some older kids off, but it does create some fun moments that should challenge young gamers. That being said, older kids should probably give it a miss as it could be just too easy for them.
Better than average, but Madagascar3:Europe’s Most Wanted just simply doesn’t have the major appeal to keep everyone happy