Platform: Nintendo DS , DSI
Developer: 505 Games
Publisher: 505 Games
When it comes to crazy and offbeat cartoons that provide lots of laughs, my daughter is tuning in. The Cartoon Network’s “Johnny Test” is one of those wacky cartoons. Entering its fifth season, Johnny Test is one of the most watched cartoon shows and now has its very own Nintendo DS game. Unfortunately, when it comes to DS games based on actual cartoons, many of us, including my daughter, have been disappointed more often than not. So when Johnny Test for the DS arrived, I reluctantly handed the game over to my daughter hoping this TV cartoon based game could buck the trend. Much to my surprise she really enjoyed the game but it wasn't too long before she 'hit a wall' and stopped playing the game altogether.
Overall, Johnny Test is better than I expected in the visuals department. Johnny Test himself looks decent considering his small stature. The game is a side scrolling platform adventure so it is to be expected that Johnny will be a little on the small side as he leaps, jet packs, and sprints his way through the many stages. As for the other Johnny Test characters, they look decent as well. Everyone from his super-talking dog Dukey, his genius inventors the twin sisters Mary and Susan, to Mr. Wacko, all the game characters look nearly identical to their TV cartoon counterparts.
Johnny Test is a colourful and vibrant game. The levels are very large and each environment looks decent and the level of detail is passable. Granted the game is nowhere near Super Mario Brother quality, but the overall look suits the game and the developers did a decent job creating a Johnny Test atmosphere in a small handheld game.
The sounds in the game are about what I expected and do not leave any lasting impressions. The music is repetitive and seemingly loops over and over. I found that it really sounded like nearly all of TV show based DS games I have played to date. As for the sound effects, they are decent as such things as leaping and jumping on the enemy have distinctly different sounds. It is on par with any other third party DS game available, yet it is nothing incredibly innovative. There is no character voice work in Johnny Test. This comes as no surprise given the limitations of the hardware in the DS. Instead you get a steady diet of text dialogue throughout the games cut-scenes. Adding some simple voice over dialogue would have been sweet and would have kept the entertainment value up a bit as well. Unfortunately, fans of the show will not be able to hear Johnny Test and his Sisters bantering throughout this game.
As I mentioned above, Johnny Test is a side scrolling platformer that consists of a single player campaign story mode. Unfortunately that is about it. Johnny Test has no multiplayer component, no co-op modes, no puzzles, no mini-games, or any other extra stuff. So to say Johnny Test put all his eggs in one basket is an understatement, but before I get into how the game plays, let me just give you a bit of background in terms of the games storyline.
Johnny Test plays out like any episode of the hit cartoon. It is just another day in the Test household when Susan and Mary (Johnny Test’s sisters) build a brand new gadget in the lab. It is not long before Johnny accidently tampers with this new machine and inadvertently allows Mr. Wacko to access it. Mr. Wacko then uses the machine to turn the town of Porkbelly into a medieval city. Just when things could not get any worse, another one of Johnny’s nemesis, Brain Freezer, is holding the twins' beloved Gil Nexdor hostage. As you would guess it, it is up to Johnny Test and his dog Dukey to save the day. And so the adventure begins.
The storyline is fairly good and stays true to the animated series. It is easy to follow and it plays out during the breaks between each level. Even my 8-year old daughter was interested for a time. Unfortunately the storyline was not enough to hold her interest as it does not take very long until this side scrolling adventure becomes incredibly difficult for the game’s target audience, which should be those little tikes who watch the show.
Like many side scrolling platformers, much of the gameplay consists of moving from point A to point B. You do so by leaping, sprinting, stomping, teleporting and jet packing your way through the games 12-levels. The first level offers up a nice little introduction to the games basic controls. It is simple yet very effective and it takes no time at all to learn the games basic controls. What did catch me of guard however was how difficult some of the levels were. For instance, in several instances you are forced to leap from tiny moving platforms. One wrong move and you quickly fall to your fate. Likewise, being able to see where you are jumping is difficult at times. There are many points in the game where you are truly taking a leap of faith; not knowing if you will land to safety or fall to your death. There are also several instances where you have to make some tricky leaps in order to reach certain platforms. Keep in mind this was difficult for an experienced gamer like myself. As for my 8-year old, she quickly became frustrated and called for my assistance far too often. Did I mention the boss fights are also a serious challenge? Well don’t even get me going.
On a more positive note, the game is great challenge for a more mature DS gamer. Tweens, teenagers, and young or older adults alike will get a kick out of the game. I have to admit that I found that it was enjoyable for me at times.
Johnny Test for the DS features a collection of gadgets fresh from the laboratory and plenty of power-ups. Every time you get wacked by the enemy there is a health power up right around the corner. The game features a decent amount of exploration as well, which can lead to additional lives, new abilities, and health upgrades. You can also change Johnny's mood and ego as you play through each different level. Utilizing Johnny Test’s attitude can help you advance in each situation. All in all, Johnny Test for the DS is a fun game for gaming on the go. Yet at the end of the day, I question whether this is simply too much for the younger DS gamer.
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