What can you do with an oddball collection of sometimes frustrating, sometimes tedious, rarely compelling, and almost always dreary mini-games? Not do justice to a quirky film like Napoleon Dynamite, that’s for sure. Yet that’s exactly what Napoleon Dynamite: The Game attempts to do with its compilation of almost 30 short and half-baked mini-games.
You’ll find all your typical mini-game genres in here: from the rhythm games to the puzzles, from the shooters to the random “throw the ball as far as you can”-type concepts. They’re all brief and you ought to be able to complete them within minutes, but “challenging” - we prefer to call them “feeble attempts at game-lengthening” - requirements mean you might be stuck on the same mini-game for a frustrating amount of time. To make it worse, a lot of times you won’t be able to unlock the next, and potentially slightly more fun, game until you’ve beaten all the ones before it. We’ve yet to see a mini-game title so linear.
A plot exists, but it’s thin and irrelevant. The humor of the film is painfully attempted but falls completely flat, since it’s mostly in text form. The only aspect of the game we genuinely liked was the art style, which is like a cut out collage of half-cartoon, half-realistic characters and items. If they had translated the aura of the film through more creative means in the actual gameplay and story, like they did with the art, instead of just recycling old dialogue and tossing in generic mini-games, Napoleon Dynamite: The Game might have been more of a success. As it is, however, we recommend staying far, far away.
Feb 27, 2008