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Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian review

Play and learn at the same time! Or do neither

Pros

  • Real Stiller!
  • Educational puzzles
  • "Humor"

Cons

  • Brain-dead difficulty
  • Unsatisfying gameplay
  • Horrifying Ben Stiller character model

Hey! It’s the tie-in game to the sequel to that film with Ben Stiller in that you vaguely thought you might watch if it was on TV or something, but never got around to! Unless you have kids that need to know more about American history, or are a mentally unstable Achievements whore, you might want to turn away now.

One brownie point does come from the fact that Ben Stiller actually bothered to turn up to voice his character, Larry Daley – the security guard-cum-inventor who returns to night-time museum prowling to prevent an evil Ancient Egyptian from taking over the world. It seems surprising that he would agree to appear, seeing as his on-screen avatar looks like a chimp after a serious car accident – but maybe he never got to see the game before it was released.

So, as if you couldn’t have guessed, it’s pretty traditional platforming fare, with the emphasis on puzzles and Harry Potter-style exploration, plus the added surprise factor of a gargantuan amount of simple historical facts (sorry, er, factoids) littering every area, designed to get players a higher mark on their next History test. You’ll team up with heroes like Teddy Roosevelt and fight baddies like Ivan the Terrible and Al Capone, and at certain points you’ll commandeer different vehicles, like Amelia Earhart’s bi-plane and a thundering great T-Rex skeleton. Obviously.

It’s solid and glossy, but difficulty is engineered towards the most simple-minded of kids, and the "collect parts of an ancient amulet" plot, allied to obvious challenges, doesn’t make for a hugely satisfying jaunt. However, if you loved the SNES platformer Mario’s Time Machine, you’ll like this.

Jun 3, 2009

More Info

GenreAdventure
Description

It’s solid and glossy, but difficulty is engineered towards the most simple-minded of kids, and the "collect parts of an ancient amulet" plot, allied to obvious challenges, doesn’t make for a hugely satisfying game.

PlatformXbox 360, Wii, DS, PC
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor rating12+
Release date13 May 2009 (US), 5 May 2009 (UK)
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