Movie to game offerings normally generate a collective groan from reviewers. It’s been our unfortunate experience that they are usually thrown together to coordinate with a movie’s release. Recently, developers have been surprising us by offering well developed, enjoyable games, and Two Tribes DS version of Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties falls into this category. I was expecting a hairball, and Two Tribes delivers some delicious kitty kibble of a game-Okay, I will cease and desist with cat references-on with the review!!
The story is based on Jim Davis’ Garfield, the fluffy, orange, fat, loveable lasagna lovin’ cat. If you paid attention to the “Tale of Two Kitties” title, Garfield has a look-alike which he must join for a lasagna feast. That’s about it-then again, this is a platformer aimed at children. The story isn’t text heavy, so it’s completely enjoyable for a gamer at a beginner’s reading level. In fact, the first level was so brief, involving a letter to above mentioned feast, my daughter and I couldn’t figure out if it was indeed a level or the intro-.
The presentation reminds me of Klonoa, with a 3D character moving about a 2D environment, and can move at times into the background to reach new areas. Bad controls can kill a platform game, particularly on a handheld system, however Garfield’s controls are for the most part rather solid. Basic platforming 101 applies here, the usual running, jumping (lots of it..) sliding, are all utilized in the game. Movement is controlled by using the D pad, a jump button, occasionally you can blow/talk into the microphone to make Garfield interact with something in his environment, and lastly use the stylus from time to time to move Garfield to the areas marked with a Paw print on the screen. Unfortunately, the latter two added a nice touch of DS functionality to the game, I wish they would’ve been used more.
I was pleasantly surprised at the level of variety available here. Enough attention is given to each level so that they are different from the level before. Many times playing platformers directed towards a younger audience, an adult gets bored, as level design is boring and uninspired. I’m glad to say, this isn’t the case here, you get the chance to guide Garfield through many types of environments and levels.
The most challenging aspect of the game (as there aren’t many enemies to face..) is that you start out with 9 lives (get it??) which seems like a lot-at first. The game automatically saves after each level is cleared-however-ya don’t get any more lives. If Garfield meets his maker 9 times..you start out where you last saved. Not annoying to us old school gamers-.however this could be frustrating for younger gamers.
Graphically, Garfield delivers.. As one would expect, in a game of this sort, a huge color palette is used, giving it a lively feel and appearance. Garfield looks fluffy as he did in the film, and his facial expressions are hilarious-this looked great to me and, impressed my daughter a great deal. The environments are crisp and colorful, it’s nice to see this kind of attention paid to background, which is often neglected in kid’s platformers. The sound effects are average to above average, however the music was lacking a bit. Too bad someone can’t give Garfield an awesome theme, such as the Pink Panther has..Garfield needs it!
Many have referred to this as a kid’s game, it can be considered to be so, it was on the easy side-however the developers here didn’t get lazy because it’s “for kids”..this game is a fun platformer for adults as well.
In closing, if you’re looking for a solid DS platformer aimed at younger gamers, Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties is definitely a recommendation, particularly if your gamer is a Garfield lover or a cat lover.. Two Tribes has done an awesome job with this fun platformer, not dumbing it down for a younger audience, however developing a cute, appealing, and fun addition to anyone’s DS platformer collection. Garfield: Tale of Two Kitties is a feather in the cap for Two Tribes, I hope they continue developing good, solid platformers such as Garfield for younger gamers. And when I say for younger gamers, I mean the story is light, sweet, and cute-
Before reviewing this game, I mentioned that I may be lenient on the controls as it is for kids-(thankfully, Two Tribes didn’t require this, the controls are good-) ZeroTolerance then tells me something that I kept in mind while reviewing Garfield-
To quote ZeroTolerance-”Kids deserve good controls, too!!”