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Garfield Gets Dumbed Down


Jim Davis, I have a bone to pick with you.  I was willing to look past your fat cat no longer being funny- I assumed it was because I was getting older and my sense of humor was broadening to things that were actually humorous.  I was willing to look past those two awful movies; Garfield and Garfield 2: a Tale of Two Kitties.  I’m even willing to look past this constant stream of really bad, poorly animated direct to DVD films that have been popping out faster than a Mogwai in water.  Obscure references aside, I will not look past Garfield Gets Real for the DS and DSi.

Based on the direct-to-DVD movie of the same name, I’m told that the story of the game follows the story of the movie.  Garfield gets up, eats some food, goes to make a comic, eats more food, some how gets sucked into the real world, eats more food, and… well you get the idea- shenanigans ensue and food is eaten.  What more could you ask out of a game based on a cat who’s sole claim to fame is that he’s fat and sardonic. From what I can tell, since I have not seen the movie, developer ZOO does a good job of getting the story right.  The way they tell it in the game is a bit slow moving and well, to be frank, boring. Crawling text that appears on the screen sets up each level of the game telling you what is going to be happening.  Not a bad decision as this is a game designed for little kids who may have trouble still reading. 

As long as I’m on that subject- is this game for little kids?  I’m being serious when I ask that.  From the first level of the game I immediately found myself putting the game down and going to the instruction manual; something I don’t think I’ve ever had to do before.  The game offers no instruction on how to control the fat cat in game so you have to go to the manual in order to figure out what to do. Again, this isn’t really a terrible thing, but if I was a young kid with a tiny attention span- I wouldn’t even imagine going to the manual, I’d sit there and be frustrated trying to figure out how to play the game.  Some quick in game instructions couldn’t be that hard to put in, could it?  I mean- I still don’t understand what the touch screen is for.  There are buttons on it that don’t do anything for half the level and then suddenly a spot light appears and you have to do a dance mini-game. It’s a mini-game in a mini-game. Again, there aren’t any instructions to it so you find yourself fumbling with buttons and drawing on the touch screen for 15 seconds until it’s over.  It’s unnerving how frustrating it is.

The level designs need some serious work.  The first two levels are the exact same mini-game.  Something is being thrown at Garfield and it’s up to him to catch as many as possible.  Now that isn’t a bad mini-game, it’s just boring.  It feels like playing an advert-game you would see on the side of a website.  The game adds more variety to the levels after that but I became so bored from the first two levels that I almost didn’t care.  That’s when the game starts to mess with you.  The third level, a side-scrolling “platformer” if you want to call it that- is so painfully hard, even for a veteran player like me, that I couldn’t believe I was playing the same game. The controls were so awkward to use that I found myself losing the level over and over again.  The game more or less stays like that until the end constantly jumping from being so easy its boring to being to hard to play.  Thankfully the game is only seven levels long. 

Aside from that, the game is… not awful. The music is simple, though repetitive and the graphics are actually pretty good compared to the game play.  If I was a little kid and my parents bought me this game, I’d get a few good days of play out of it before trading it in for a well made game… or any game really.

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