(Wii U)

The Smurfs 2 (Wii U)

Game Review

The Smurfs 2 Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Dave Letcavage

La la la-la-la lame

With Papa Smurf and the rest of the Smurf clan making their way back to theaters this summer in The Smurfs 2, it’s no surprise that a video game of the same name is arriving alongside its movie counterpart. Generally, expectations are low for such licensed fare, but when we heard that the good people at WayForward were behind the latest Smurf-venture, we wondered if this would be an exception to the rule; especially considering the developer’s fantastic work within the platforming genre. So, is Smurfs 2 as “smurftastic” as advertised, or did it leave us turning blue with boredom?

The story begins with Smurfette being kidnapped by new, dirty-looking Smurfs called the Naughties. It seems that Gargamel is commanding them and, additionally, has cast a spell on the critters of the forest, turning them against you and your Smurf friends. As you teleport via portals in the game’s 3D hub menu, you’ll chase after the captors and frequently run into Gargamel, who communicates through a foggy portal, himself. Chunks of story are presented between worlds in the form of cartoon still-frame images with a narrative overlay, and these feature a hand-drawn art style that is more a reflection of the original television show than it is of the movie or actual game.

As a side-scrolling platformer, The Smurfs 2 is as traditional as they come; make it from the beginning to the end of each level by bouncing off the heads of enemies and avoiding any hazardous pits; there are also smurfberries, coins, and other random items to collect along the way. But platforming purists shouldn’t get too excited just yet, as the level design is largely uninspired, lending to some extremely mundane platforming with few, if any, surprises along the way. Actually, sometimes the layouts can be overly generic, almost as if randomly materialized by a level generator; there are few memorable areas and most locations blend right into the next. And that’s not the only thing that holds the gameplay down.

It brings to mind Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion for the 3DS, as Mickey trudged slowly along through the environments due to an almost devastating lack of a run function. Smurfs 2 shares a similar pacing that will immediately turn off many gamers – even the kids that participated in our multiplayer testing made comments about this, without our influence. Assuredly, this lack of speed will be beneficial to inexperienced players looking to familiarize themselves with platforming antics, though it would’ve been nice to have the option to run for those of us who’ve been around the block a few times.

There are six different locations to visit, and while most look relatively good – especially the lush, detailed backgrounds – they all feel similar to one another; so really it feels like you’re limited to forests and cities, with the inclusion of an obligatory snow world. Each of these is comprised of 5 levels rounded out by a boss battle, which pits you against either familiar Smurf baddies or common, yet extra angry, forest creatures. That’s 30 standard levels and 6 boss battles, which isn’t much, so it’s definitely not a long game; although there are reasons to continue playing beyond a single playthrough. For example, each level has three “achievements” tied to it – from collecting a set amount of berries in a single turn to completing the level with a specified character – plus, for every 5 coins collected, the player will unlock new characters; up to 20 extra are available, in all.

Each Smurf has a special move that generally correlates with their distinct personality type. We enjoyed being able to choose between a plethora characters, and it was nice trying to figure out which Smurf would perform more admirably given the design of each individual level; Hefty can crumble blocks that encase a collectable or secret area, Brainy uses his calculations to jump higher than the other characters, and Clumsy – our personal favourite – can perform a roll much like in the Donkey Kong Country series, which injects a bit more speed into the proceedings. The biggest problem though, is that all of the Smurfs – outside Papa and Smurfette – look nearly identical, lending to a mass of confusion during multiplayer sessions.

To be as fair to the game as possible, we invited a couple of children and inexperienced gamers to take part in the action and get their opinions, in an effort to reflect the game's core demographic. It was at this point that we found things slightly more enjoyable. The slow speed works better with numerous players on the screen, and the bland levels better accommodated the hectic action that comes with multiplayer platforming. Things are still sort of effortless, but goofing around with others added a much needed sense of life. Additionally, using the GamePad allowed us to control Clockwork Smurf, who flies around by using the stylus and touch-screen, dropping items to help other players. It’s an extremely boring proposition, and this might be the one game where kids don’t fight for their turn with the GamePad.

All in all, the small amounts of multiplayer fun weren’t enough to salvage our overall opinion of The Smurfs 2, and even younger gamers lost interest after a short time. So if your children have already proven that they can handle a game like New Super Mario Bros. or Donkey Kong Country Returns, this one may be insulting to their level of talents, and they’ll more than likely find it to be rather uneventful. However, if they aren’t yet familiar with the platforming genre, and adore the Smurfs flicks, this may be one to rent or pickup for a bargain price; as bland as it can be, it’s a quite harmless experience that should still be accessible for the younger crowd.

Conclusion

Don’t let the fact that the game is developed by WayForward fool you; The Smurfs 2 is mostly lackluster licensed fluff. While it is nice that it isn't as disjointed as other games of its type, it’s hard to recommend something this uninspired. If you’re thirsting for a kid-friendly platformer, you’d probably be better off keeping your smurfberries in your wallet and waiting for alternatives in the coming weeks and months. But if you have very young children who are obsessed with The Smurfs movies, this may be a solid way to introduce them to the genre, thanks to low difficulty and the straight-forward, forgiving gameplay.

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User Comments (70)

AltDotNerd

#1

AltDotNerd said:

Well, smurf this piece of smurf! Not even a company as great as Wayforward can make a mothersmurfin' movie game good!

Captain_Toad

#2

Captain_Toad said:

In before the smurf puns. (looks at @AltDotNerd 's comment), ah smurf....

But seriously that level design in those screenshots is just dead. Come on wayforward you're better than this.

Darknyht

#3

Darknyht said:

The entire story for me was told when I looked that the Wii and Wii U boxes in the store. The only difference between them was one touted 5 player co-op and the other 4 player co-op. Graphics and everything else looked the same.

Tobias95

#4

Tobias95 said:

The first movie had too many flaws, its game was terriblw, and this seems to be so too. Why the heck change their backstory?
Smurfette isnt a real smurf, but creayed by Gargamel, to help him catch the Smurfs. Why leave the enchanted forest? Its rigth outside of a damn middelage kingdom!

RetrogamerFan

#5

RetrogamerFan said:

WayForward also did a Barbie game on GBA; You tube Steve Benway (his most viewed video) to see someone 'playing it badly'

photofool83

#8

photofool83 said:

I rented the Wii version for my niece (3 yrs) and nephew (6 yrs). We actually had a lot of fun playing it. Yes, the levels are not on par with NSMB or DKCR but it wasn't terrible. Honestly, a score of 4 seems a little harsh. I'd probably give it 6 out of 10.

TenEighty

#14

TenEighty said:

I was a fan of the Smurfs when I was a kid. It's just a shame that they can not create a good 3D adventure game for them. Although I believe games based off kid movies are just rushed out for the profit instead of actually taking the time to make a good game. The Wii had too many of these poor quality games. I think Nintendo just needs to reject them unless there is actually time taken in the development of these games.

Einherjar

#15

Einherjar said:

As if CG smurfs arent an insult on their own...
And although im anything but a graphics person, but these screenshots are utterly disgusting.
But like many others said: What else did one expect from a movie license game ?

Tobias95

#16

Tobias95 said:

@TenEighty
I know she is created by him, thats the problem, in the first of this two movies, Gargamel used her hair to make a smurf lexir thing

StarDust4Ever

#19

StarDust4Ever said:

No news here. Shovelware is shovelware. I was really bummed by the Wreck-It Ralph review as well. That would have been an awesome game had they tried to recreate the environments from within the movie. but that would have been like 3 game engines in one. No effort = no sale from me.

Luigifan141

#24

Luigifan141 said:

See guys, this is exactly why we shouldn't support SpongeBob SquarePants: Plankton's Robotic Revenge. Like I said in it's announcement article here on Nintendo Life, it's complete shovelware, and it's jarring that you guys think games like this can do that well at all. If you guys still think most licensed games can turn out great, then you're all wrong.

3DSAllDay

#30

3DSAllDay said:

Ubisoft: WOW!!!! This game did not sell very well on the WiiU which means that we should stop making games for the system and start making games for the Xbox one and the PS4 instead.

faint

#31

faint said:

This is a ubisoft product. Is this part of the last chance they have been talking about. The quality games they have been talking about? Better buy it or ninty won't get any more "quality product" from ubisoft. a brand "you can trust"

element187

#32

element187 said:

@Luigifan141 Some licensed games have turned out well.. Ducktales was amazing on the NES (at the time), The first TMNT was terrible, but the button masher that came out in the arcade was boss.

Not all licensed games are crap... but yeah 95% are.

Metaknight_3Raw

#38

Metaknight_3Raw said:

@faint
At least they are bringing their big titles like Watch Dogs, Splinter Cell and Assassin's Creed better than completely skipping the Wii U for their AAA titles like Bioware/EA, Square Enix, Blizzard, Rockstar, CD Projekt and more...

Ren

#39

Ren said:

When HD means High Defecation. Not what the WiiU needs right now.

Relias

#41

Relias said:

@The_Inquisitor Oh come on.. everybody knows My Little Pony is the system seller.. until that comes out and does not move systems.. Wii U is not doomed..

photofool83

#43

photofool83 said:

@Jukilum Have you played the game? A better question, has anyone that has commented actually played the game? Or is everyone going off of one review? The game is obviously not targeted to "gamers", it is targeted to families and children. The game is very good for what it is intended to be. So yes, again, I would give it a 6. A slightly-above average game for families.

Jaz007

#49

Jaz007 said:

And it's a bad game as expected. The movie will be terrible too, I mean, watching the trailer is painful even.

Gustaf89

#50

Gustaf89 said:

i think the reaction most of the people have for this kind of game is kinda hypocrite, because Ducktales is a "tv show game", also Aladdin, and The Lion King, and those back in the day, weren't called "shovelware" and a lot of people want remakes of those games, and other are losing their poop for Ducktales, so why this kind of games gets so much hate?, those old games, are pretty much the same, plataformers, and you all enjoyed them back, the only reason, today people don't call them "shovelware" is because nostalgia, and i don't know, maybe this game isn't a freaking "Bioshock Infinite" but it delivers its porpuse, fun for the kids,

theoldman

#51

theoldman said:

@Gustaf89 I am having really hard time digesting your comment. Either you truly don't understand what "shovelware" is, or you just love bad games. Aladdin, lion king, and ducktails are CLASSIC examples platforming games when they were in their prime, and are arguably some of the best in the entire genre. That's why people want them remade, and still talk about them. I have played this smurf game, and the review practically took the words out of my mouth. I understand that it's aimed towards kids, but I almost find it insulting to think that young gamers can't handle more than a flat surface with a couple jumps thrown in. They made one level and changed the colors. It's lazy.

JuanitoShet

#53

JuanitoShet said:

I had the misfortune to watch the first movie in theaters. Never watching it again, and won't even give this one a chance. This game looks as generic as the new "Hollywood" stink that these new movies unfortunately reek of.

It's too bad. I love the original cartoon. I find it a crime that a video game adaptation of this movie exists. And I'm usually not one for overly-cruel comments, but I feel this one deserves it.

LeVideoGamer

#54

LeVideoGamer said:

@Gustaf89 Because with those older games, as with their remakes, it's evident that a lot of thought is put into level design, dialogue, soundtrack, etc. Most games made from movies these days don't have that attention to detail, and are obviously made to profit from a recent box office success. 4/10 shows we're not ganging up on it just because it's based on a movie, it's legitimately a bad game. It deserves to be called shovelware.

Rerun

#55

Rerun said:

I hate to say it but, I can't believe that WayForward made this. Is this the beginning of the end for them? When Treasure was asked to make a video game featuring Ronald McDonald, it was surprisingly good. With folks leaving WayForward and now this, I'm worried.

World

#56

World said:

I was expecting this to be decent, at least. But, even so, I'm not sure I could handle those Uncanny Valley Smurfs for long. Although I have a place in my heart for WayForward's licensed kid-friendly output (the Wendy game comes to mind particularly), I don't know about that inability to run. That seems strange, unless the stages are so small that it doesn't matter.

theoldman

#58

theoldman said:

@Rerun I don't think it's the beginning of the end for them. It's seems that with all the projects wayforward has its hands in right now, we are going to get some great games. That said, this game just looks rushed. As if they slapped it together so they could get back to the games they actually care about. It's a bit of a blemish for them, but that's all. People will forget it even exists.

DRLAdmin

#60

DRL said:

Thanks for the comments so far, everyone!

I know I'm jumping in here late, and it's unlikely that many of you will see this, but if you have any questions about the game, feel free to ask away! Just make sure to tag @DRL in the question so I'll see it.

Also, remember that people are entitled to their own opinion. Please respect those that have played the game and have their own personal feelings toward it. If we all liked the same things, we'd live in a pretty boring world - don't forget that. ;)

EmcGuy

#63

EmcGuy said:

My wife and I are still Laughing our A$$es off at that bi-line. This man deserves a medal.

MermaidMan

#65

MermaidMan said:

What's happening to this world? There used to be good games like Super Maria Brothers many years ago. Not like this nonsense with those ugly blue people in the dark.

Memeboy3

#66

Memeboy3 said:

It's a multiplatform game....Even the PS3 and Xbox can't escape, why can't we have a GOOD movie based game like Goldeneye? Is there something that companies can't think of other than ''Money''? If it had more time, it's would've at least got an ''Ok''....

praespero

#67

praespero said:

why...wayforward....WHYYYY!

in all honesty, if little kids weren't around to buy these games, they'd never exist. sighs

StarDust4Ever

#68

StarDust4Ever said:

NES run-and-jump platformer (minus the run button) desguised with pretty HD visuals? Count me out.

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