Developer: Namco
Price: $4.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPad

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★½☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Despicable Me: Minion Mania is indeed a movie-based game, but instead of just being your run of the mill tie-in game that usually has you playing through the movie’s story, Namco and Anino Games have decided to do something different. You control a squad of 2 or 3 minion, depending on the level, that you control one at a time. You must use them along with items found in the levels to get one minion to the exit, which will require you to frequently switch between minions to accomplish different tasks, and to use the minions together to try to advance further. The concept is a definite winner, but it’s the way the game plays that causes this to be despicable at times.

By doing something outside of trying to replicate a movie’s story in game form, the developers were able to make a game that incorporates a license but still stands on its own. If you didn’t know about the movie Despicable Me, you would just think that this was some developer attempting an interesting new puzzle game for the iPhone. The game’s multiple character switching mechanic is used very well, as every level requires you to frequently switch between the minions for some creative solution., Sometimes the game throws a puzzle your way that might seem impossible at first, but with some experimentation with the way items interact with the environment, like how ice beams can freeze lava, the game shouldn’t stump you too much once you learn how it all should work.

However, Despicable Me: Minion Mania is frustrating because of its controls. You will spend so much time fighting the game’s controls, from thinking you’ve switched minions but really haven’t, to inaccurate movement, to the frustrating segments that require tilting with seemingly backwards controls. This is a game you have to fight to play, and when you’re fighting a game’s control scheme constantly to do even simple tasks, it’s nigh-impossible to enjoy. As well, the game downloads and installs on pre-3GS hardware, but crashes once you try to start the game. There are also glitches littered throughout the game, such as random teleportation of characters and getting stuck in odd places, which often will force you to restart the level you’re playing. To top it all off, the game is very short, taking only a couple hours to beat at most, with little reason to return beyond high scores and achievements.

As it is, Despicable Me: Minion Mania gets an A for concept, D for execution. It’s a great idea to take one of the most stereotypically stale game types, that of the movie-based game, and do something unique with it, but the control issues and lack of length for a $4.99 game make it hard to recommend as a full purchase.

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