The kids’ games are alright

A good reviewer will research a game that they have been requested to review by playing other examples of the genre beforehand. This is why I purchase kids’ games every now and then and give them a pasting – so if we receive a new animated movie tie-in or whatnot to review we’ll be able to tell you how it shapes up against other titles out there.

Oh, who am I kidding? It’s not an easy claim to make, but on a regular basis I play through kid’s titles not for research but for my own amusement. They help provide a break from the usual staple diet of shoot ’em ups and are often loaded with easy achievements.

Here’s a run down of titles that have graced my Xbox 360 when nobody else is looking.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

There’s a whiff of Wii port about this one, but that’s okay – it’s not a bad game and requires a degree of brain power. The main character has a long list of weapons which have to be swapped between to clear obstacles (giant foodstuffs, usually) to proceed. You also get to punch giant roast chickens with a boxing glove on a spring. Give the movie a chance too – it’s a lot better than you may expect. And Mr. T provides his vocal talent.

Rango

While playing this I felt a sense of familiarity. It wasn’t until the ending credits rolled that I was able to put my finger on it. Why? Because it’s only during the credits that it’s revealed that A2M, who developed WET, were also responsible for this. I’d put money on it running on the same engine as WET given how similar the shooting and rail grinding sections feel. I’d happily give Rango a recommendation any day – it’s surprisingly varied and has a nice unexpected twist at the end.

Open Season

I’ll be honest – even though I finished Open Season I can’t remember a thing about it. So, let’s label this as forgettable shall we?

Surf’s Up

Much like Rango, this is another I rather enjoyed. I recall spending a caffeine filled afternoon racing, pulling off stunts, balancing on the top of waves and collecting shiny spinning things. A lot more entertaining than the last couple of Tony Hawk games.

Megamind

THQ must have bought the rights for this at the very last minute as it’s one of the shortest games of recent times. Just three hours is all it takes to see and do everything and most of the levels only feature two different enemy types. Amusingly, THQ recently put this up on the Xbox Games on Demand service for a staggering £39.99. That’s £10 more than it cost when it launched at retail.

MySims: Sky Heroes

The first and last MySims game to grace the Xbox 360 (and PlayStation 3). I assume it’s the only one EA has released on a non-Nintendo console as it didn’t sell too well – I paid just £3 for it, and that was new and sealed. A2M did the honours for this flight sim too. You can tell it’s a Wii game originally but it plays really well offering a mixture of dogfights and racing. The racing sections are reminiscent of Diddy Kong Racing on N64 while the free-roaming shooting sections are score-based so they instantly engage. The only downside is the amount of text you have to skip through between missions.

Marvel Super Hero Squad: The Infinite Gauntlet

As an alternative to the LEGO games this isn’t bad, but boy is it ugly. Some objects in the environments aren’t even textured. It’s a pain to get the achievements out of too as most are for collecting the coloured gems that spew out of defeated enemies, and sometimes the cut-scenes kick in before you’ve had time to collect them, meaning you have to reload and try again. Also: the subtitle doesn’t make any sense.

Kung Fu Panda

I played this around the same time as playing Golden Axe: Beast Rider and, believe it or not, came to the conclusion that Kung Fu Panda had the better combat system of the two. It’s also available on a double pack with LEGO Indiana Jones and usually sells for next to nothing as it was bundled with Xbox 360 consoles for a while.

The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

Another flight-based affair. Reviews were pretty poor if memory serves but I found it to be alright. It’s surprisingly combat heavy – enemies can be clawed with talons or grabbed and thrown into walls and such. You’d have to pay me to watch the film on which it’s based, mind.

So yeah, I’ve pretty much sacrificed my manly image for a Gamerscore boost. But if was bothered about that, I wouldn’t have written this article.