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Phineas & Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension Review

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On 08/10/2011 at 12:54 PM by Nick DiMola

Maybe Phineas and Ferb can use their immeasurable genius to fix this blasé game.

It's possible that super-fans of the show will love it just for the characters, but it's a mindless experience that doesn't capture any flair that the show might have.

Sometimes you play a game and can't help but be disappointed that it isn't something more. Phineas & Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is such a game. Built on an engine that provides solid visuals and controls, Phineas and Ferb has the groundwork for a great game. Unfortunately, it quickly falls into a rut wherein each level in the game feels similar to the last, so much so that set pieces from levels are practically recycled. While I truly wanted to enjoy the game thanks to its solid footing, it quickly became sleep-inducing when it failed to evolve.

While I can't say I was paying enough attention to recall the story, essentially, Phineas, Ferb, and their pet platypus, Agent P, are trekking through various dimensions in an attempt to return home. Each world in the game constitutes a dimension, and within each dimension are a collection of levels. In a rudimentary sense, the game adheres closely to the style of New Super Mario Brothers. There is a hidden level in each world and each level on the board has a collection of three big coins to collect. Unique to this game is an additional objective that varies from level to level, as well as an overall point counter that plays into a medal award at the end of the level.

Each of the three main characters are playable in the levels and can be switched between with either the push of a button or a tap of the touch screen. They each bring a unique ability: Agent P can butt-stomp and melee attack, Ferb can take down robotic enemies and repair machinery, and Phineas is a power character with strong projectiles that can also hit distant buttons. Switching between each character is necessary to complete the levels in the game and is a nice little mechanic to vary up the experience.

Unfortunately, these collective abilities are used in the same ways consistently. Enemies are pathetically weak and with life pick-ups everywhere, there's no chance of death. As the game progresses, each character's abilities are also upgraded, further reducing the challenge. The enemies will get slightly stronger, but never enough to offset your boosts. Often players are locked in a small space with spawning enemies, which given your strength and their inability, makes for some tedious time-wasting.

Platforming segments are always rudimentary, typically tasking players with jumping across pits and nothing more. Infrequently players will need to platform to collect coins (if they so please), but more often than not, the coins are merely obscured from view and the levels must be scoured to find them.

The game only slightly deviates from this with a few other segments. For one, mini-games will often spring up in order to open doors, unlock abilities, or reanimate downed robots. They are all simple, requiring players to hold wires in certain spaces with the touch screen to pass a charge to the finish line, or a simple color matching game with shooting a ball up one of five lanes. Worse, they are typically the same exact puzzle each time you encounter them, making them nearly unbearable, regardless of your age.

Each dimension does have its own little special level that is in the theme of the world around it. The first is chariot racing and another is a side-scrolling shooter. These also comprise the game's single card multiplayer mode. While they are a great break from the monotony in the single player game, they're not entertaining at all as a multiplayer mini-game. Given the three unique characters, co-op play would've provided a much better experience overall for players, especially for two or three siblings with DS systems.

Perhaps it's unfair to expect so much out of what is essentially a children's game, but the experience clearly could've been so much more. While kids may enjoy it regardless, the complete lack of challenge makes it a mindless romp that will likely consume only a scant few hours of time before it has been totally completed; and that's assuming they don't grow bored of it well before it's over.

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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