Phineas and Ferb: Rides AgainESRB:
Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Category: Action Games
DS Touch Screen
The Emmy nominated animated Phineas and Ferb has once again jumped from the small screen onto the even smaller screen of the Nintendo DS with their sequel Phineas and Ferb: Rides Again. The series familiar format is brought to the game where the two brothers construct some crazy inventions while their older sister tries to foil their plans attempting to get their mother to catch sight of their shenanigans. Let’s see what type of trouble and craziness the two brothers get into while we take on the various roles throughout the game.
When taking a cartoon and bringing it to the video game format you can either go two routes: completely change the style coming up with something new, which could scare away fans, or you can replicate the cartoon down to every fine detail recreating the cartoon show and a world that fans can relate to easily.
Phineas and Ferb: Rides Again takes the latter approach and has been done extremely well with the re-creating of Phineas and Ferb’s backyard, their neighborhood and places beyond that are full of vibrant colours and geometric shapes. The levels are designed as a 2D side scroller along with a 3D element where you can move to the back or forefront in certain parts of the level. The gadgets and tools that Phineas and Ferb work with are just as colourful as the rest of the game helping aid in recreating the cartoon to the handheld title.
The characters have been taken straight from the television show and placed into the game with the familiar triangle and rectangle likeness of Phineas and Ferb, along with the other obvious geometric shapes associated with the supporting cast such as Candace.
Musically, Phineas and Ferb: Rides Again improves on the previous title but doesn’t do it by that much. Once again, the musical score does repeat itself but adds a bit more variety from level to level, and the different areas throughout the game. The music does a great job though of creating a great atmosphere that fans of the series will definitely be able to relate to.
There is a bit of voice acting, however, it is only catchphrases from the television program that the characters use from episode to episode. For example, Candace often screams at he top of her lungs, “Phineas!” when Phineas is up to trouble or Phineas exclaims to Ferb, “Ferb, I know what we're going to do today!”
Included in the mix is a variety of sound effects like the fire from Phineas’ rocket pack, or from Ferb’s ray gun. The cartoon feel generated in the television program translates well into the game with the musical chimes, screeches and balloon pops throughout each of the levels, not to mention the plethora of other sound effects.
Phineas and Ferb: Rides again builds on the side scrolling action combined with mini-games that was featured in the first installment of the handheld series with a few tweaks here or there. Once again there are a total of four levels broken down into sub-levels that the duo has to work through by solving the obstacles set out before them. The first level has you building a skateboard racetrack and the second has you repairing a spaceship to give you a rough idea of the type of missions you will have.
To complete their missions, Phineas and Ferb work their way through these worlds collecting parts to build their race track and spaceship. Along the way the boys gather scraps they can use to repair objects throughout the levels such as trampolines or a car. As they explore they will uncover blueprints to construct tools such as a rocket pack to get to hard to reach places, x-ray goggles to act as a radar or a movement ray gun that helps the boys move heavy objects. Each world also has eight toolboxes scattered throughout that you must collect to even attempt completing the final project, which upon completion will advance you to the next world.
While Phineas and Ferb are exploring their neighborhood you will have to do your best to keep Candace from getting so angry that she tattles to their mother. There is a meter on the top DS screen which increases as Phineas and Ferb’s actions become more outrageous. When the meter reaches 100% you will be launched into a mini-game similar to Pac-Man but with the TV show characters. Phineas and Ferb will have to evade Candace through a maze while collecting bolts to complete the mini-game. You have three chances to complete the mini-game before Candace captures Phineas and Ferb and tattles on them. If you are worried that you will spend half the game evading Candace, you won’t have to worry too much as Phineas and Ferb have cake and kittens to distract her and decrease her anger meter. The cake and kittens will be found throughout the levels and you just have to simply blow into your DS.
The mini-games are very simple and easy to learn but will increase in difficulty as you progress through the game. All the mini-games make use of the touch screen and stylus to challenge you with a variety of games. One game has you hammering away on the touch screen to destroy specific objects to complete the puzzle, or you have to tap nails down into holes, but be careful some of the holes have cracks in the base and will shatter if you attempt to hammer into them. Players will even get to test their welding abilities by placing metal shapes into the right position then weld them together to repair the piece of sheet metal. The final project mini puzzle repeats throughout the game and has you attempting to connect two pieces of a part together by aligning the grooves, colours and shapes to make the piece whole again.
After completing the final project it will open up another mini-game. For example, after completing the first level it will open up a skateboard racing track that you have to pilot Phineas through, jumping over ramps, collecting speed boosts and avoiding oil spills on the track. On top of all that you are racing against three other players that you have to beat to the finish to complete the level.
After completing the level Candace runs off to get her mother to tattle on the boys for whatever trouble they are getting into which then moves onto another level where you take on the role of Agent P and battle Dr. Doffenshmirtz. Agent P navigates his way through traps and obstacles while battling the Doctor’s goons where upon reaching the end of the level he duels Dr. Doffenshmirtz himself. After the Doctor is defeated, Agent P saves the day by ending whatever scheme the Doctor is up to which ultimately saves the day for Phineas and Ferb as well. For example, the Doctor has a weapon that will slow down whatever he chooses and when Agent P stops the ray it launches a bolt into the sky that hits the fast moving skateboard and slows it down to a crawl as Candace brings their mother to see what the boys are up to.
The game’s stylus controls are intuitive, easy to use, and work well with the other controls of the game. This is a great surprise and adds an extra level of enjoyment to an overall well rounded title. The racing aspect of the game really stands outs from the rest of the game and is by far the highlight of the mini-games.
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