DreamWorks Megamind Review

What’s big, blue, and Pretty Awful?

Trend-bucking bunch that they are, iPhone game developers seem determined to discredit the comforting truism that any title based on a film license is pretty much guaranteed to suck. Hard. I mean Chillingo’s Predators actually had the gall to be bloody brilliant, while Glu made a damn fine job of How to Train Your Dragon. Thankfully Megamind (out now, $4.99), with its uninspired gameplay, horrendous controls, ugly visuals, and bland level design, is here to put the world to rights. Phew.

Placing the player in the boots and spandex costume of the titular super villain turned super hero of DreamWorks’ latest animated flick, Megamind is a tiresome slog through a series of seen-it-all-before side-scrolling, beat ’em up stages.

A static still and a chunk of scrolling text places the events of this game shortly after those of the blockbuster movie. A posse of bad guys are laying seige to the city, and it’s up to big-bonced, blue-skinned Megamind to save the day. Beyond this initial set-up, THQ Wireless manage to squander a fun license completely, turning in a title that bears little or no resemblance to the film – there are no snippets of FMV or sound bytes on offer here, the plot has been stripped of anything approaching humor, and the wacky cast of supporting characters barely get a look in.

As such, it’s left to the gameplay to carry this title. Unfortunately it’s far from being up to the job. For starters, Megamind boasts one of the most ill-conceived control schemes I’ve ever used. While the virtual D-pad and jump button work fine, an action button that’s supposed to take care of everything else via a disastrously clunky combo system causes serious problems.

Now, according to the game’s instructions, Megamind instinctively selects between hand-to-hand melee and gadget attacks based on the proximity of the target. Which would be great, except he doesn’t. In fact on the contrary, he consistently does the exact opposite of what you want him to do, including throwing punches at thin air whilst baddies shoot him repeatedly in the face, or pulling off a painful looking acrobatic feat of his own accord at entirely inappropriate times.

Levels veer illogically from being mindlessly easy peasy to frustratingly difficult, taking in lackluster punch-ups, a spot of basic platforming, and a number of yawn inducing collect the hidden objects stages set against the clock.

I persevered with the game in the vain hope that things could only get better. Unfortunately, despite the action shifting from a subterranean setting to the city streets and rooftops, the gameplay never moves beyond prancing around pummelling every identikit enemy, wooden crate, or traffic cone you encounter into submission. Overall, a dull and utterly forgettable movie tie-in. Note: No video footage was available at the time of publication, so enjoy the movie trailer instead!

iFanzine Verdict: Evidently chucked together in a rush to cash-in on the animated movie, Dreamworks Megamind is sloppily made and devoid of fun. Avoiding this shambolic beat ’em up like the plague is a no-brainer.

[xrr rating=2/5]