The question you have to ask yourself is this: "How much does my kid love Shrek?" If your son or daughter is in love with the ogre, turning into a hysterical, shaking, yelling pile of child every time they catch sight of the character, then this game will appease them regardless.
If your pre-teen is, by some miracle, a measured, rational human being, or if they simply cuddle up at night with a different franchise, then they'd be better served by something, else.
The Shrek series has been a cinematic juggernaut since 2001, when the original film hit upon a marketable blend of fairytale and pop culture references. Since then, the videogame tie-ins (beat-'em-ups, kart racers, interactive board games, action platformers) have been numerous and frequent. The latest follows the plot of the third film. Shrek, the curmudgeonly green ogre, is faced with the prospect of becoming King after Princess Fiona's father dies. Terrified at the thought, he goes looking for someone else who can do the job; in this case, a teenaged Arthur, as from Arthurian legend.
The ensuing game is a lifeless slog through a generic action platformer, each level putting you in control of one of five characters from the film: Shrek, Princess Fiona, Donkey, Puss-in-Boots or Sleeping Beauty. But the characters are essentially identical - they all punch, kick and jump, which is all you'll ever need to defeat enemies. The difference comes in occasionally necessary special moves: Shrek punches the ground to knock down enemies, Fiona charges into things, Puss-in-Boots stupefies with cuteness and so on. You get the idea.
But mostly it's just punch, kick and jump. In fact, mostly it's just punch. You fight some of the staff at your castle, and then you fight some pirates, then some jocks, knights, witches and criminals. But every enemy you come up against, you just punch until they fall down. You fight against menacing, walking trees that throw apples at you from their branches. So you punch them, and they fall down.
Killing enemies results in them dropping pieces of lifeforce, which when collected let you carry out each character's special moves. But far less useful are the other hidden collectables that are dotted around every level, including mugs (which seem like an odd thing to collect), crayon drawings and gold coins. The coins can be used to buy items of clothing in the 'Shop', but it's an entirely pointless feature unless you're a particular fan of action platformer/fashion designer game hybrid-'em-ups.
In all areas, the game is victim to a depressing lack of vision. Wouldn't it have been wonderful, for example, if they'd let you play through the whole thing co-operatively? Yes, it would have.
Instead, we're thrown a multiplayer version of a brief and simple mini-game featured in the singleplayer story. You're tasked with destroying your opponent's towers using catapults, hopefully before the game destroys your faith in humanity.
Nothing in the game is broken as such, or even frustrating. It's just tedious. But what renders this outing truly heinous, the thing that causes me tear off my own ears, are the voices. Of the film's star-studded cast, only John Cleese seems to have lent his vocal talent to the game. So when Donkey speaks, you're not getting the already obnoxious hyperactive hee-hawing voice of Eddie Murphy. You're getting someone doing an impression of the already obnoxious hyperactive hee-hawing voice of Eddie Murphy.
It's what death sounds like.
Depressing, derivative movie cash-in