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Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Review


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On 09/29/2009 at 08:36 AM by Lauren Lewandoski

Some good ideas get the abbreviated movie treatment in Ubisoft's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
RECOMMENDATION:

Fans of the movie or children

Despite wanting to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs for the past few months, I still haven't seen the movie. So I got the DS game and was excited to add to my knowledge of the movie: there's a guy with brown hair who makes gadgets and gizmos, there's a blonde news reporter, and there are giant meatballs. I began to play the game as the guy with the gizmos and brown hair, who is named Flint. He's joined on his journey by the support and direction of other townspeople, who interact with him from the top screen as he runs through the streets on the touch screen.

The levels are arranged like streets, with a distinct beginning and ending with a few dead ends to lend for exploration and collection of Hydrons, or little blue lights. The game is made up of a few worlds with about five levels each. It works really well for the game's style. The Hydrons count like your score, but don't dictate if you finish a level or not. You use them to upgrade your weapons.

However, it's not all about little blue lights. Obstacles of varying degrees get in your way, but luckily Flint has already invented gizmos to overcome them. For instance, you use the Forkamajigger to pick up pieces of a watermelon slice to build a ramp to get to a higher level. You use the Bigacious Pow to break up giant cookies blocking your way, and melt enormous Popsicle barriers with the Hot Enougher. These utensils are used really creatively in the game as Flint tries to get across town. Later levels also incorporate multiple tools, so, for example, Flint will have to use the Hot Enougher and the Bigacious Pow to overcome ice cream cone blockades. One of my favorite ways to overcome obstacles is the Bubble Gum. You pick up a piece off the ground, and blow into the mic to fill up the bubble and fly through the air.

The stylus is used for all movements, and while the controls definitely work, there are a few glitches. Sometimes it's hard to put down an item you're holding with your Forkamajigger, but other than that the controls are pretty good. The game has interesting gameplay, the controls work well, and it has giant ice cream cones and chocolate chip cookies. Where could Ubisoft go wrong? First of all, the presentation is poor, as every menu in the game is extremely bland. It also didn't help that I was thrown into gameplay without so much as a cut scene explaining what was happening.

I am also pretty shocked at how underdeveloped the graphics are. I know that this is a movie-based video game and the game has to come out on a deadline, but the graphics don't even seem up to par for something fitting that description. The best part of the game is the loading scene of the hamburger chasing Flint, and that's not because of any graphical prowess, it's just funny.

Overall, I'm not very enthused with the game. This is undoubtedly due to the banal presentation. The game had some fun gameplay mechanics, and the loading screen is priceless. With a better presentation, this would have been a great licensed game.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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