Wii owners have a wealth of critically acclaimed 2D platformers to play, ranging in graphical style and relative difficulty from Kirby’s Epic Yarn to Cave Story. In a way, Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion, the latest Gummy Bear branded release from Storm City Games, combines parts of both of those titles by creating a world where a mushy pastel hero in a whimsical and fluffy world gets killed in a variety of infuriating ways. However, it achieves this without being charming, cute, interesting or fun, which may be a problem for some gamers. If you’re interested in playing platform games that contains both puzzles that would insult the intelligence of a kindergartener and the requirement to be able to pull of some horrifically precise jumping, though, Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion is probably the game for you.
If you’ve been gaming long enough to have played any of the dozens of bad mascot based platformers that plagued the SNES and Sega Genesis, you’ll be very familiar with the gameplay in Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion. In it, you guide a blobby looking candy bear as he slowly tromps through a world filled with precariously placed platforms and candy-based enemies that are, more often than not, inexplicably impervious to your ability to jump on their heads and squish them to death. The only unique thing I could find in this game is that at the end of each of the game’s three worlds is marked by a time limited item collecting challenge, but except for in the case of the ridiculously easy final boss level, they’re much too difficult to be enjoyable at all.
Though I have to say that at first, it was sort of fun to play something so much like the Super Nintendo games I used to rent and promptly forget about, any sort of positivity I had towards the game was quickly lost. The horrible jumping mechanics making keeping your gummy bear alive a miserable chore, which instantly eliminates it as a good purchase for younger and inexperienced gamers, while the fact that it plasters a game over message on the screen makes the whole exercise demoralizing, too. Some of the levels are also littered with incredibly easy jigsaw puzzles and memory minigames, which would have been a fine diversion were the controls halfway decent in them. If the hardest part of a virtual puzzle is getting the game to recognize that the pieces in it should connect, there’s a serious problem with it. I was also very troubled by the fact that the gummy bear protagonist was able to kill a sentient cupcake with no problems and could only die at the hands of the zombie donut, but that’s really the least of the game’s problems.
In the gameplay department, it’s really difficult to say anything nice about Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion, and that’s the case in regards to its graphics and sound, too. While gamers are spared hearing the same music through the game’s entire four hour length, it’s not much better that it alternates between three chirpy public domain classical music tracks for the whole game. At first, they don’t seem so bad, but by the end of the game, as the Smurfs-esque music punctuated my frequent falls into suspiciously bloodlike pools of boiling Jell-o, I wanted to find a way to gouge my ears out. The weird sound effects, such as the oddly realistic door openings and flying sounds that the gummy bear makes as it jumps, don’t help matters any.
The graphics in Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion aren’t any better, though I have to say I really would have been impressed by them if they ran on a Nintendo 64 cartridge before I‘d gotten a chance to play the similarly styled but superior Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards. Next to the vast majority of current console games, however, even on the often graphically maligned Wii, it doesn’t hold up at all. The fuzzy character models, repetitive backgrounds, blurry objects and pasted on looking textures may have been nice in the late 90s, but there’s no excuse for them now. The fact that a Wii game is supposed to look like a cartoon doesn’t mean it has to look bad, as evidenced by the picture book styled 2D graphics in A Boy and His Blob or the cel shaded character models in Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All Stars. As a game in 2011, Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion has no excuse to look the way it does.
Since Gummy Bears: Magical Medallion is a twenty dollar title that looks like it could keep kids busy for hours, a lot of people might be tempted to pick it up and drag it home. However, the short length, bad gameplay, and poor presentation make it anything but a worthwhile purchase. It isn’t quite as bad as last year’s Gummy Bears Mini Golf, but when clearance bins and used shelves are piled high with more creative, polished, and interesting Wii games, there’s no reason to buy such a derivative and poorly made game.
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