A while ago I covered the tutorial for the title Megamind: Ultimate Showdown. Whilst I purchased the title for its co-op, which turned out to be very disappointing, it has proven a great example of why so many movie cash in games are flawed.
I’d now like to look at the difficulty of the game, or lack thereof. The game starts really holding the player’s hand, a little too much I felt. From there, well its much of the same. Every puzzle is completed by mindlessly following the clear instructions with flashy indicators showing what to do. The only time I’ve ever been stumped in the game was when for no apparent reason my progress was blocked, but it involved jumping to somewhere you couldn’t see off the screen. I’m not saying the puzzles should be complex and very challenging, this is a game for the younger audience, but if there’s absolutely no thought required then it really isn’t a puzzle and certainly isn’t enjoyable. Frustratingly these “puzzles” are repeated quite
Much the same can be said about the combat in the game. Perhaps if I wasn’t upgrading my weapon then enemies would have been harder, but they were as easy on the final level as on the first. The player isn’t challenged into trying new tactics or fighting a diverse range of opponents, its pretty much the same easy to beat enemies over and over again.
What really doesn’t help is the lack of punishment for dying. A few points here and there, a measly amount of the total. Who the fuck cares about that? Not only that but checkpoints seem to be every 5 seconds meaning that failing has no real impact on your progress. Checkpoints in a game is always a bit of a sore point for the “purists”, I do believe in the need for them for many modern day games. However if having to restart a long level from one tiny mistake is one end of the scale, common for old school platformers, then Megamind takes the complete opposite end of the scale. It is far too forgiving and a lack of punishment is bound to have an impact on the player’s desire to play well, or play at all.
Its quite odd. I don’t think that I’ve ever really encountered a game where the difficulty level throughout the game remains flat and the same without some sort of curve. Even for these cheap half arsed titles, surely we should still expect vague resemblance of solid game mechanics? Okay it may be for kids, but still provide some difficulty curve. Given how hard it can be to maintain the interest in a youngster, you’ve got to provide motivation to keep going. Chundering on at a simplistic level just will not do. The only challenge in this game is putting up with it.
Source: Xbox 360