Usually with licensed kid’s games, there is some glaring problem with bugs, or poor graphics, or awkward controls that helps to ruin the experience, thanks to the rush to cash in on a movie or television show’s popularity. That is not the case with “Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” as the look, sound and feel of the game is surprisingly polished.

Movie game
Nov. 4, 2008

The graphics look good, though obviously not as detailed as the movie version, and the characters animate fluidly-at least, in-game, not in the cut scenes, where they simply stand around after making a quick action or movement. The voice acting is well done and humorous at times, especially for fans of the franchise. The controls work; waggle is implemented, but not to the point where your wrist wants to fall off, and the button presses and gestures respond well.

The problem with “Escape 2 Africa,” though, is that the game just is not that much fun. Despite all of the positives, the game is not much more than a seemingly endless wave of mini-games. You are attempting to get all of the main characters (Alex, Gloria, Marty and Melman) on to a plane and, you guessed it, out of Africa, but you do this by completing mini-games that lack any kind of fun or rewarding feeling to them.

The mini-games are, in a word, boring, and the platforming elements of the game are hindered by a somewhat awkward camera-why do you reset the camera with the 1 button on the Wii remote, rather than with C or Z, which has been standard for most games on the system?

Many of the mini-games are races, or ones where you try to collect a certain item in a short span of time, or something else unoriginal that makes you wonder why the animals need to complete it in order to get off the continent. This lack of structure and plot is dizzying even to someone who is used to what you call “video game logic”. Even the young kids this game is intended for will notice that something is missing-namely, enjoyment.

When you finish with the initial mini-game barrage and get to the hub of the game, the Watering Hole, you can reach the different areas of the game and replay mini-games you have already gone through, though given the low quality of them it’s difficult to figure out why anyone would want to do that.

“Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa,” is a game made solely for fans of the movies who will do anything to spend more time with the universe created in that movie franchise. There are far better games you can pick up for your children, and that includes other licensed titles based off of movie’s or famous characters from pop culture.

About The Author

Marc Normandin was gaming editor of Blast from 2008 to mid-2010. You can reach him via e-mail at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter @Marc_Normandin

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