If Dreamworks are the low-rent Pixar, then surely Sony Pictures Animation, the makers of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, are a low-rent Dreamworks. They’ve crafted a charmless kid’s movie out of an obscure kid’s book, and inspired Ubisoft to belch out a game version some degrees further into the depths of low quality. The problem is, since the diaper-smelling film buffs sent the movie to the top of the charts, innocent children may be in danger of playing this game, so allow us to issue a serious balls warning.
In Meatballs, you play tiresomely geeky young inventor Flint Lockwood as you try to put right the disastrous food infestation that you have wrought on the people of Chewandswallow. Cue 20 very slight levels of straightforward ice-cream-melting, chilli-avoidance and gummi bear thwacking which would surely fit onto an old GBA cartridge and still leave room for 20 more. You can jump in for a bit of co-op as Flint’s monkey friend Steve if you like, but it’s not as if you’re ever in need of any assistance, except when a solution is obscured by frighteningly poor level design.
At first the plague of pesky foodstuffs promises some basic but quirky puzzles – chilli floods will burn you, but douse the puddles with guacamole and you can proceed, and so on. But each one of the levels is so brief, you only have time to work out what to do and repeat the process a few times before your mission is unceremoniously completed, and it’s on to the next small, repetitive level, awkward camera angles and all.
The charmingly retro 16-bit style of the game’s intro twists the knife further – why not just make the whole game in that SNES-style, seeing as the lack of innovation and use of only a couple of keys bears no resemblance to anything we expect to see on 2009-ish PC?
With so little playing time and endless irritations (the weedy hero repeats the phrase “Hot enough for ya?” every single time he melts a lolly – often in such quick succession that he overlaps with himself), we couldn’t really even recommend Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs for a rent with anything like a clear conscience. No, not even to a four-year-old Gamerpoint-obsessed simpleton known to be obsessed with gigantic hamburgers. If you want to play a SNES platformer, download an emulator.
Dec 14, 2009