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The Simpsons Game (Xbox 360) artwork

The Simpsons Game (Xbox 360) review

"Prepare to laugh. The Simpsons are here and they’ve brought along parodies of games, and people in the industry. Everquest, Metal Gear Solid, Katamari Damacy, Pokemon, and so much more are all spoofed in The Simpsons Game, brought to you by EA Studios. So grab your controller, turn on your system, and get ready to rock! "

Prepare to laugh. The Simpsons are here and they’ve brought along parodies of games, and people in the industry. Everquest, Metal Gear Solid, Katamari Damacy, Pokemon, and so much more are all spoofed in The Simpsons Game, brought to you by EA Studios. So grab your controller, turn on your system, and get ready to rock!

The Simpsons Game is easily one of the funniest games, simply, ever. I found myself laughing out loud constantly at all the video game, pop culture and especially Simpson references scattered throughout the game. Bart Simpson finds a manual to something called “The Simpsons Game” that fell from the sky, and it contains information on how to use super powers for each member of the family (more on these later). When the characters learn how to use their powers, Kang and Kodos (the lovable aliens from the television series) send aliens unto Springfield to wreak havoc. When the Simpsons discover this, they are out to save their city of Springfield. While the story itself really isn’t all that exciting, the cut-scenes will have your sides splitting with laughter. The game is just that funny.

The Simpsons Game plays out like an action platformer. You play as the four main characters Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa, and a couple moments are even put aside for Maggie. You will be constantly beating up baddies, jumping, climbing and solving puzzles (some easy, some unnecessarily hard) to complete your objectives and beat the game’s 16 missions. In all missions you use 2 characters pre-determined by the game. This does not apply to the last mission however, where you use all four characters. Unfortunately, this aspect of the game isn’t that fun. There are two or three ways for you to attack the enemy. You can use your three-button combo (yes, only one) to knockout the enemies, and your basic B-button attack.

On top of these, each character has there own super power. Marge has a megaphone and can make mobs and get them to do her dirty work, Lisa uses the “Hand of Buddha” to clear paths, eliminate enemies and solve various puzzles, Bart becomes Bartman and uses powers to reach new heights, which leaves us with Homer. Without a doubt, Homer is the character you will enjoy the most. On top of his basic burp attack, he also has two separate modes, the eternally entertaining homerball and the fascinating gummy Homer. It is a shame that the developers clearly put so much focus on Homer, and seemed to forget about the other characters. The problem with the other characters powers is that they only need to be used in specific situations. This makes the idea of their super powers rather pointless; as instead of “powers” they are foolish gimmicks the developers threw in. Fighting enemies is simply boring, as all you are doing is mindlessly mashing buttons until you’ve reached the next objective.

Every character you can think of is here.

In the games 16 missions, there are also plenty of “collectibles” hidden in the game. The only problem is, unless you are playing on the Xbox 360, there really is no reason to look for collectibles. They unlock nothing in the actual game, and are just there for show. The only plus is that you unlock achievements in the 360 version.

On top of the basic story mode (which should last you around 8 hours), there are also “Time Challenges” for each mission. There is a total of 30 minutes worth of time challenges, but they provide a decent amount of entertainment, even if it is only for a short time. They are rather clichéd, like “collect all cans”, or “defeat 100 enemies”. Again, they’re really only worth playing for the achievements, as they don’t unlock anything in the game, which is disappointing.

The best part of the in-game experience is the “Video Game Cliché” moments that you find throughout the gameplay experience. When you do something in the game that is “cliché”, Comic Book Guy pops up and shows a cliché moment, like pressure pads, how every game has crates, lame combos, etc. Its truly refreshing to see a video game take such a laid back approach and poke fun at itself. Each moment is surely to have you laughing.

The biggest issue in-game is the wonky camera. You’ll constantly find the camera being blocked by the environment, making it difficult to find an alternate angle. You’ll also have a lot of difficulty maneuvering the camera when your being swarmed by enemies, which can cause frustrating deaths. The camera really detracts from the games overall experience, and the developers could have easily avoided this problem.

The Simpsons Game features the entire TV cast’s voice-overs. This makes for a game that simply sounds great, and makes the humor genuine. After all, the Simpsons just wouldn’t be funny without the voices we’ve come to love. The musical score in the game remains true to the Simpsons, and while never truly ground breaking; the music does a great job of fitting the environment and mood of the levels.

The Homerball is endlessly entertaining

In game, The Simpsons Game does a good job of recreating the look of the Simpsons television show, especially in the environment. The cell-shaded graphics look great here and the characters look as if they came straight from the show. The game runs very smoothly, and there are few loading screens in the game, and all the character animations are fresh. The best graphical component of the game is the full motion video scenes. With the exception of the uncommon in-game cut scene, the main story is shown through terrific full motion video scenes that look identical to the TV series. These are beautiful, and a fantastic element to the Simpson game.

All in all, don’t expect to spend any more than 10 hours on the Simpsons game. After the main story, all that is left to do is explore Springfield (which is fascinating, as you’ll find just about every character you can think of), find the collectibles and complete Time Challenges. The Simpsons Game really doesn’t offer anything else. That’s right, The Simpsons Game offers no online modes whatsoever, just online leaderboards to compare your times with other gamers. This game would be a perfect example of online co-op and more, which prevents the Simpsons Game from really soaring. So, despite a pretty short story mode and generic gameplay, the Simpsons Game is certainly worth a rental for thanks to the insanely funny dialogue and spoofs, and a purchase for those hardcore Simpson fans out there.

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Community review by Azumangaman (January 04, 2008)

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