It’s safe to say that The Simpsons family have been around for quite some time. The television show has recently passed their 18th anniversary, released a feature-length movie, and debuted yet another a game not just for the PlayStation 3, but also for the PS2, PSP, Xbox 360, Wii, and the Nintendo DS.
There have been other video games surrounded by the Simpsons franchise, but The Simpsons Game is the first for the PlayStation 3 and takes place in of course, Springfield. After you finish the tutorial level, you find yourself watching Bart Simpson who has just obtained a copy of “Grand Theft Scratchy”, an obvious rip of the controversial Grand Theft Auto series.
Unfortunately, his mother Marge Simpson immediately confiscates the game. Shortly afterwards, Bart finds a game manual to none other than, The Simpsons Game. This is where he finds out that himself and the rest of his family have their own set of special super powers. We won’t get into who has what powers but we will say that their powers match their personalities and are slightly limited.
When you first start the game, the only playable character is Homer. You can unlock other family members as you progress through the game and eventually choose whom you wish to play as once enough characters have been unlocked. Out of the five family members, only four of them are playable considering that Maggie is a part of Marge, and, although you do have the ability to control Maggie in some instances such as climbing through air ducts, you can’t freely control her. Some levels require you to play as multiple characters allowing you to pick more than one Simpson family member, though ultimately, you can only pick two at any one time (with the exception of the final stage, where you can play as everyone)
Throughout your adventures in Springfield you will notice that the gameplay is nothing really innovative as you find yourself solving simple puzzles and engaging in some relatively bland, repetitive combat. You have the ability to play co-op offline with a fellow gamer, but it isn’t really necessary as the title is easy enough and doesn’t require too much thought to complete. If the game does get too hard and you find yourself dead, you will be accompanied by a short and sweet “Ha ha!” performed by none other than the delinquent laughing boy himself, Nelson.
The time you spend in Springfield is kept at a minimum considering that the game is rather short. The title only comes packed with twelve levels, or episodes with each one containing certain tasks that require specific character skills to complete. Each level takes roughly twenty to forty minutes to complete, so we’ll leave you to do the math. Unfortunately there are some flaws such as limited gameplay as mentioned before. The camera system is also something that could of used quite a bit more work as you may find yourselves stopping every five minutes to properly adjust the camera for certain jumps.
Graphically, while not comparable to games such as Uncharted, is one of the high points of The Simpsons Game. Take into consideration that The Simpsons Game is a title that seemed to go for more of the comic style of graphics and gameplay. As you beat levels and watch cut scenes you will no doubt notice that a few cut scenes look below par, especially when going for the three dimensional look, but the vast majority that are viewed in the game gives you the feeling that you are actually watching the television show in high definition.
The best feature of The Simpsons Game is the writing hands down. All the characters, not just the main ones, feature their authentic voices and that gives the game that humorous “Simpsons” feeling, unlike if William Shatner were to voice Homer with Mr. T accompanying Bart. Although we have to admit, we would like to see how that would turn out.
Not only are the voices authentic, but also there are so many parodies of other popular games such as Medal of Honor, Pokemon, and Dance Dance Revolution and a few not-so-popular games as well like Katamari Damacy. You also get hit with classics too such as Super Mario Bros and Frogger. The attack is relentless as you get hit parody after parody and they all are so well woven into the game that we didn’t even notice them at first.
It doesn’t stop at parodies either as the game also has it’s own cliché humor as well accompanied by non other than the Comic Book Guy. If you happen to perform something along a long the lines of a double jump or a lever pull, he will pop up and tell you his thoughts as well let you view your own cliché collection. The Simpsons Game also has more, low profile humor as well such as a billboard that pokes fun at Jack Thompson, the video game hater, and background voices saying some of the most random things.
Despite all the good that The Simpsons Game has to offer such as graphics and copious amounts of humor, the title could of definitely used a little more polishing up. Several aspects such as the camera system and gameplay could have been better and more diverse. Concurrently, however, the game is above average when compared to other games based off of cartoons such any of the SpongeBob Squarepants etc, where developers seem intent on slapping a brand name on a decidedly average product and hoping for the best. Still, it shouldn’t be more than your first few hours with the game that staleness and monotony begin breed in abundance – one for die hard fans only.