Taking a few notes from the GBA version, Narnia on DS is low-grade adventure hack?n slash.
Four children are given the task of saving Narnia, a mythical land that has been frozen for 100 years. To restore the land, these siblings must defeat an evil witch who controls the rule of the land. A ?save the world? gameplay motif is standard base for any decent game. However, Narnia suffers from a solid game concept that was executed poorly.
The player takes control of the main characters from the story in an action RPG sort of way, similar to dungeon crawlers like Champions of Norrath. The biggest flaw of the game is its speed. Everything moves slowly from the speed of the characters? walking animation to their attack speed. It is funny considering that these small children, who range in age from a first grader to early teens, when encountering massive sized orcs and centaurs, walk away with a ?meh, who cares? attitude. Any normal child would be running away as fast as they possibly could. In fact, characters attack so slowly that enemies will often have enough time to retreat from the attack. And because the attack is on the slower side, enemies often attack faster than the player, hence knocking them down which, again, takes several seconds to get back up.
Combat is also inaccurate. The two brothers have an easier time attacking than their sisters because they use melee weapons like swords, however, the sisters use long ranged attacks like bows. Lining up bow shots is incredibly difficult and lags from the slower speed, often leaving oneself vulnerable to attack.
Unlike the GBA game, the DS version has unnecessary obstacles that are meant to create variation and entertainment to the game, but wind up being plain out annoying. Many ice barricades are spread throughout the land and it is up to the player to smash them down in order to move forward. But since attacking is so painfully slow, the simple task of beating a stationary wall can be frustrating. Unlike the GBA version, where helpful items can be found in destructible objects, breaking things in the DS produces no reward. Obstacles are placed in the game for the purpose of being a great nuisance. Why?
The DS version of Narnia is a completely different game from the GBA version. The biggest difference is that the DS version supports a fuller RPG feel. Because of this, the player will be shifting to the menu screen to adjust stats and items on a consistent basis. However, this menu screen must be controlled through the use of the touch screen. The D-pad and face buttons do nothing. So the player then has to play the game, decides to go to the menu screen, pull out the stylus, perform tasks like equipping items and weapons, put the stylus back in the holder, and continue on the adventure when this all could have been eliminated by using the D-pad.
The graphics are really nothing too special and are standard for a DS game, although a few animations would have benefited from a few more frames. The game doesn?t exactly make a solid use of the second screen either. Some type of better radar or map system would have been more helpful. The musical score, like the GBA game, is decent and supports a more woodwind theme and make good use of the DS?s stereo speakers.
Any gamer knows that the conversion of taking a movie and making it into a game is usually poor. Narnia is really no exception. It is better than most movie-to-game translations but it still lacks significant polish. There are just too many annoying things in this game that can?t be ignored. Once the full force of the movie dies down in theaters, I predict this game heading straight for the $9.99 bin at your local electronics store. Only then would it be recommended for a purchase if you were a parent looking to buy a game for your young child.