Movie-based games are not known for being high quality products due to the quick cash-in nature of the projects. However, Namco and Anino Games are trying to defy these expectations with Despicable Me: Minion Mania, a puzzle/platformer based on the upcoming animated move Despicable Me. The full game will not release until June 28th, 12 days before the release of the movie, but Namco has released what is essentially a glorified demo for the game with a Lite version of Despicable Me: Minion Mania.
This Lite version contains the first 2 of the full game's 20 levels. These levels serve as a tutorial for the game, introducing you to the mechanics of the game. You control and switch between a pair of Minions, and you must move them through out the level, activating switches and picking up items with the goal of getting one of the Minions to the end. The game is very similar to Toki Tori, but with multiple characters to control. The controls are simple, where you select a Minon by either tapping on it or its icon on the top of the screen, then you tap on the screen to direct your Minions to where you want them to go, and tap the bubble above their heads when they have an item to use it.
However, the controls are maybe the biggest concern with Despicable Me: Minion Mania Lite. It's easy to get confused just which Minion you're controlling, particularly when you're switching between the two, so it is important to keep an eye on the indicators at the top of the screen to keep track of which Minion you are controlling. As well, navigating your Minions around is not as intuitive as a game like Toki Tori is, where the controls were intelligent to as what you were intending to do. Here, the controls require you to point exactly to a button, or to get on moving platforms exactly when they're where they are at, or to try to run past a stomping obstacle exactly when it goes up. Considering the added complexities of maneuvering more than one character, some tweaking to the controls to make them more user-friendly would help greatly in the full version.
Still, what is here, although it is exceptionally brief, does show some promise for a game that could be of higher quality than most movie-based games. Despicable Me: Minion Mania Lite is available now, and the full version will be available on June 28th with an iPad version released alongside the iPhone and iPod touch versions.