Maybe it's wrong to have a go at THQ for bringing out the same old platformer template for their latest CGI cartoon game tie-in, because that's pretty much what Dreamworks did when they made Megamind in the first place.
The screenplay was written to a serviceable old formula nicked from The Incredibles, with few tweaks, the glossy visuals and character designs are hardly jaw-droppingly original, and the whole franchise is a Happy Meal deal going through the motions from start to finish.
As the game picks up from the end of the movie, prepare yourself for the spoiler that the apparently archly evil Megamind turns out to be a hero, and so we don't even have the slight novelty of playing as a villain, Overlord style, in this adventure.
In fact, this guy's just a blue, big-headed do-gooder double-jumping around the city collecting energy balls and using a variety of pointlessly upgradeable weapons - rayguns, electric shocks, wind-blowers - to battle a never-ending stream of cloned goons, and occasionally picking up an object and dropping it on a target two feet away(each with a massive arrow pointing to it), to open up the next stretch of identical gameworld... leading to a boss battle which generally involves pressing the same button several times.
The sprats to distract us from the exhausting inanity of the main game? Occasionally, as you unlock missions around the city, you get two-player minigames - a form of kart racing without any skill required, a Super Monkey Ball-esque ball-rolling challenge, a timed city destruction screen, and so on.
Then there are artefacts to find, which you can then see in your HQ hub - and only see, seeing as they don't do anything else. THQ also boast that Jonah Hill is returning to provide the voice for the final boss, but that just brings attention to the fact that no one else could be arsed.
As ever, being based on a CGI movie, it often looks pretty enough - especially since the camera is slavishly locked onto you, and every level is painfully linear, so there's no chance of straying from the glossy path.
But as the latest in a long line of identikit THQ kiddy platformers, this should really be the last straw, a cue for complete hopelessness and despair... Except - great news! - THQ CEO Brian Farrell has announced that the company has done with churning out these kiddy tie-ins, and now want to concentrate on their own IPs.
These charmless CGI cartoons will continue to surface of course, and videogame spin-offs will be inevitable, but perhaps next time the game duties will be given to fresh developers, who may dare to actually think of a worthwhile way to extract gameplay out of such identikit franchises.
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A braindead chore of a platformer, with no redeeming features. Let's hope it's a nadir
- The end of an era?
- Linear, predictable toss
- Ear-damaging SFX