Movie-themed games like Madagascar 3 are generally not designed for adults, which is great for me because my son did most of the work for me. Being a busy guy and all, I still sat down to put some time into the latest Dreamworks-based movie tie-in game and actually enjoyed it quite a bit. This may sound odd as a parent, but I have never watched a Madagascar movie from start to finish, though I have seen bits and pieces of the first two.
The first time I sat down with my son to play this, he had a headstart on me. Usually, this is the other way around but he was so excited when it came in I just let him go crazy. I’ve played some of these movie games in the past but it’s been quite a few years. They used to be poorly designed games thrown together to make some money off the movie’s name. Madagascar 3 though actually has a solid foundation as a game.
The story is presented with hilarious cut-scenes that both me and my son were cracking up over. Even the jokes that I personally didn’t find funny I ended up laughing at due to his infectious laugh. All of the main cast from the movie make an appearance and you play as them throughout your 3D platforming adventure. Whether you play alone or with someone else, the game always has two characters on the stage at all times both of which have particulart skills to utilize. In addition to the platforming, there is a puzzle element to the game, but it’s light enough for kids (and me) to figure out. One character will have to catapult to an area and flip a switch, while the other character has to walk a tight-rope to the next area and drop a box for the first character to jump on and proceed.
Like I said earlier, I really did enjoy the game. The stages have a myriad of collectibles to gather, some of which can only be obtained with certain characters. The trick is to get as many as you can while playing so that when you return with another character later you will then only be able to get that characters collectibles. It sounded odd at first as my son was explaining it to me, but as you revisit areas as different characters it made exploring the same place twice a little more enjoyable.
If you don’t have kids or are not into the Madagascar series, this obviously doesn’t pertain to you to begin with. However, die-hard fans of the series, light gamers and parents can all find some enjoyment in this $40 USD priced package.
Being a huge fan of the Madagascar movies, my son had anticipated this game since I mentioned it to him. Of course he was more than willing to lend me a hand to review the game. I put the game in for him and left the room, anticipating a yell for help at any moment. An hour and a half later, I actually had to go tell him it was time to stop for the day. At the time, I was unaware of the puzzles he had solved on his own and I asked him what his initial thoughts on the game were.
The story was noted as funny; he is almost eight and he could follow what was going on with the bright and colorful animated cutscenes easily, as if it were one of the movies. When we played co-op together, we were both laughing at the characters as they presented the story to us between missions.
I’ve purchased liscensed games in the past for my son, and he generally loses his temper because he would get stuck. Well, he did get stuck in Madagascar 3 after a few hours, but once we plowed through that he was fine. He also showed no interest in the mini-games. While they are competitive, the scores also average together for a “Team score”, so you want to hope the other person does well. These games are all reflex-based, and my son’s hand-eye coordination and familiarity isn’t on the same level as mine so he just got frustrated with it.
While he loved the story sections, my sons favorite part was being able to play with his dad (sweet, right?).
“I liked that there was lots of jumping and action and that we could play together. I just didn’t like it when we got stuck and couldn’t figure out what to do. (insert mad face here)”
Fans of the movie series will be pleased that the game can be enjoyed. While the missions are generally fetch quests within the sandbox levels, there is plenty to do and the game is fun, unlike how licensed games used to be.
- Split screen co-op for parents and kids
- Puzzles are generally do-able for kids (seven year old tested here)
- Hilarious story points
- A few puzzles were too much for my son (could be case-by-case basis of course)
- Mini-games felt tacked on