Phineas & Ferb might be one of the best family shows on television right now. The Disney XD hit is one of those shows that has lots of fun for kids, but also plenty of chuckles for adults. It even had a recent crossover with the Marvel Universe. Of course, that means licensed video games will be offered from time to time, with the latest being Phineas & Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff.
The last Phineas & Ferb game, Across The 2nd Dimension (based on the TV movie of the same name), had a very Ratchet & Clank feel to it, liberally borrowing elements of that series. This time, Quest for Cool Stuff apes the Donkey Kong Country games with two dimensional platforming in elaborate environments, complete with mine cart-ish levels for good measure. Throw in a few other familiar elements, and the result is a game that’s not particularly original, but does its job quite admirably as a budget title aimed squarely at fans of the series.
Since most fans of the series tend to be in the pre-teen range, the game’s difficulty has been dialed down accordingly (unlike the notoriously difficult DKC games). You generally get three hit points, but checkpoints are liberally sprinkled throughout levels, so you won’t have to retreat very far if you do meet an untimely end. It also stays true to the source material, complete with the same voice actors.
The game is split into four worlds with anywhere from three to five levels each. This may not sound like a lot, but there’s a lot of forced backtracking as certain areas of some levels (and in some cases entire levels themselves) are gated, only available if you’ve unlocked certain upgrades. It’s similar to what the LEGO games do, yet somehow the game maintains a certain linearity, eventually requiring you to come back to those areas later to advance the story. These are usually done through character quests given to you by Baljeet, Isabella, or Buford, but those are easy to figure out as the quests menu will tell you exactly what world you need to go back to.
In addition, there are also separate levels where you play as Agent P/Perry the Platypus in a parallel storyline that intertwines with what the boys are doing, although it’s not tied together nearly as nicely as they do it on the show.
The end result is about 4-6 hours of fun platforming gameplay, with a bit more on tap if you want to go back and find missed collectibles (I got to 74% completion in about three and a half hours). That’s not particularly great, even for a budget title at $40, and the ending really comes out of nowhere with little fanfare and left me less than satisfied. Another level or two of World 4 would have helped here.
I reviewed the Wii U version of the game, but this is a straight port from the other versions. The GamePad simply mirrors what’s happening on the main screen with nothing else added. On the plus side, this does mean that you can play the game on the GamePad while somebody else plays another game console or watches TV.
Update: Where Across the 2nd Dimension had a nice co-op mode, there is none to be found in Quest for Cool Stuff as it’s strictly single player only, which is unfortunate. We had to take turns playing levels so that the kids could get a turn. The two oldest boys enjoyed their turns and had about as much success as I would have expected for their ages (10 and 6), but not being able to play together was a bit disappointing.
The GamerPops Recommendation
Phineas & Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff is an unspectacular licensed game that fans of the show will enjoy, though the current $40 price point is a bit high for what you get (I would have liked this more as a $20-25 downloadable title). It uses a lot of successful elements from other games, and the result is a more kid-friendly version of those games, which isn’t a bad thing because it’s done well here with very few hiccups. It’s not the greatest end to the summer ever, but it’s good fan service, and does the show some justice.
A review copy was provided to GamerPops.
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