There’s one hundred and four days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it, so the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it, like maybe releasing a big named Disney franchise onto the PlayStation Vita such as Phineas and Ferb!
Virtual Toys, a developer based in Spain have been busy quite recently working on a range of Vita-exclusive titles, including The Muppets Movie Adventures and Looney Tunes: Galactic Sports. Their latest release, however, comes in the form of one of Disney’s most recent and very popular cartoon series – Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz.
With a popular IP in their hands the question is, can they manage to make a competent game that is fun and entertaining for its target audience?
The first warning signs hit me when the game’s opening movie started. The movie is the well known and much loved title sequence to the cartoon, but all wasn’t quite what it seemed. The ever catchy and much loved theme song, composed by one of my favourite musicians of all time (Jaret Reddick of Pop-Punk band Bowling for Soup) and, even worse, the voice acting for the characters was missing – a theme that that I would learn continues throughout the games.
Then comes the story, which is narrated through a series of comic strips between levels. This manages to stay true to a typical episode, with the usual catchphrases of Phineas exclaiming ‘Hey, I know what we’re gonna do today’ and Phineas and Ferb’s sister Candace with ‘Wait till mom hears about this!’ but these scenes are about as true to the cartoon as this game gets.
The gameplay itself is actually half decent, a platformer that feels akin to games like Ratchet and Clank or Jak and Daxter, but with less of an open world feel to it. Levels will see you destroy waves of enemies with various different weapons and overcoming platforming obstacles.
You can choose from three different types of weapons, you have a gun which shoots out balls, a gun that shoots out fireballs and a gun that shoots water. Each of them are effective on different types of enemies and can be upgraded.
Upgrades for each weapon vary, for example, you can upgrade the ball gun from tennis balls to basketballs, and the fire gun from rockets to a flamethrower – each upgrade being more powerful than the next. The main issue that I had with the weapons is that when you got too close to a wall or an enemy the gun wouldn’t fire, this left me in a variety of situations where I died and found it to be for unfair reasons.
Throughout the levels there are various different items for you to collect, with different coloured coins that are worth different values. Coins can be used to buy items to upgrade your weapons, to buy outfits and also to obtain items for a minigame involving a robot in a virtual reality environment.
Although collecting the coins in levels can mean a lot of backtracking, there is also a Space Invaders-style minigame that allows you to earn a large amount of coins – allowing you to power up massively if there is a particular level you’re stuck on.
The parts of the game that I found to be most fun are when you take control of Perry The Platypus – Phineas and Ferb’s pet who doubles as a secret agent. It’s in these levels where the gameplay changes from a platformer into a 2D sidescroller, bringing a nice change of pace to the gameplay and, in my honest opinion, this is where I got most of the enjoyment from this game.
Graphically the game is rather impressive, with the environments and character models reflecting those of the TV series quite well whilst the cutscenes and comic strips are very well designed. The main issue I had is that the enemy designs felt cheap and unoriginal, leading me to grow bored of killing the same types of enemies for the 8 hours it takes to get through the game.
As I mentioned at the start of the review, one of the main things that lets this game down is the fact that whilst it does contain the Phineas and Ferb license for its story and plot, it is missing an authentic soundtrack. The implemented soundtrack in the game is rather poor, with repetitive looping music that quickly becomes tiresome.
Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenschmirz feels like an uninspired platformer that whilst sometimes fun can also be repetitive and tedious. The difficulty is also something worth a mention (especially with it’s target audience being children) as I found the game could be quite challenging when facing the game’s bosses. I could easily see a younger individual losing interest if they were to die any more than a couple of times.
As a full priced title I also felt rather robbed given the trophies for this game, there are 8 in total and none of them are a platinum, this felt kind of off-putting for a game that I had spent around £30 to buy.
I can’t say that I can recommend this game, at least as a full priced title. If you’re a fan of the series then I’d definitely say it’s worthwhile picking up in a sale. With it’s fun factor being hit and miss, Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenschmirz is definitely a game that I won’t be revisiting again any time soon!