It comes as no surprise that kid-oriented games aren’t the most challenging or thrilling for mature gamers, and that’s fine considering the demographic most are shooting for. Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff is prime example of a very straightforward platformer, one where the source material will attract fans far and wide but who’s full entertainment value may be spent on the first go-around.
It sounds snarky, but in reality that’s the purpose of this title. Based on Disney’s smash-hit animated series, these two genius stepbrothers spend their summer brainstorming gadgets and stumbling upon new adventures, all for the sake of having the best day ever. It’s a popular cartoon at heart, and a cult hit with the adults as well. It’s a shame this game retains very little of what makes the show so endearing.
Those familiar with the show will like that its special brand of humor and charm migrate fairly well into this cel-shaded action side-scroller, with the plot centered on a treasure-hunting expedition through various locations. Like most games for younger types, the premise is wafer-thin in the search for the fabled “Cool Stuff”, but that’s the point. It’s a simple game that sprinkles in the wit to help keep this relatively short quest moving along.
Speaking of simplicity, the game can be beaten in about 5 hours, as reaching new areas is easy with the patented A.T.T. (All-Terrain Transformation Vehicle). Thanks to the transformation vehicle, which is basically the ultimate robotic tool with a drill, it guarantees some backtracking when you permanently upgrade your equipment, and you’ll be going everywhere from the moon to volcanic mines all in the name of “exploration”.
Like the show, Perry the Platypus has his own secret agent agenda with his journey squarely fixed on foiling the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz. The execution is largely identical to Phineas and Ferb’s excursions except that it’s a lot more linear and predictable, changing very little with the established formula.
It’s not a stretch to say this is a very easy game to complete at just under 5 hours, and there’s little here to keep fans coming back if you take the presentation out of the equation. Without the charisma, full voice overs, and humor of the animated series to carry the experience along, you’re left with a fairly uninteresting game. There are also technical issues such as sloppy controls and poor hit detection all around, but for undemanding types most of these faults are very forgivable.
Phineas and Ferb: Quest for Cool Stuff is a nice distraction for undiscerning tykes who know the hit show by heart, but it’s not exactly cool or engaging. Even without control and general gameplay issues, this is a game that’s far too easy and way too short for most to appreciate. For parents willing to introduce some wholesome gaming to their kids, this might be worth looking into, just not so much for everybody else.
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