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Garfield's Funfest Package Art
GENRE
Platformer
DEVELOPER
Black Lantern Studios
PUBLISHER
DSI
LOCAL WIRELESS
MULTI-PLAY
No
Wi-Fi/GLOBAL ONLINE
MULTI-PLAY
No
MICROPHONE
No
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Garfield's Funfest

Garfield is an American institution, appearing in multiple formats such as comics (not only the original series but also in derivative works like the sublime Garfield minus Garfield), TV shows, movies, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and, most importantly, video games, the latest of which is Garfield's Funfest, a DS game based on the 3D animated film of the same name.

visuals

The game's presentation generally resembles the strip's more clean, pencil-drawn style rather than the CG animation of the movie, although this is just as well, as it's kind of weird to see Jim Davis's art style in 3D. Between-game cut scenes do feature art clipped directly from the film accompanied by text, but mostly the game retains the 2D style, and it works well, featuring the bright pastel colors and exaggerated poses that will be instantly recognizable to those familiar with the Garfield TV specials or series.

audio

There's no voice acting to speak of in Garfield's Funfest, which normally wouldn't be a big deal in a video game, save for a small exception this time: Garfield screeches like a cat when hit by enemies, rather than simply saying "Ow!" as expected, although players will undoubtedly get used to this after playing the game for awhile. The game's music is somewhat catchy, and plays an especially important role during the rhythm-based levels, where musical cues are the key to achieving high scores.

gameplay

The game follows the same story line as the animated special: Garfield is putting on a show with his girlfriend Arlene, only to be upstaged by the annoying Ramone. The player's job is to assist Garfield in getting his groove back, so to speak, and taking control of the Funfest back from the fat feline's rival. Gameplay segments are 2D-based, with side-scrolling and exploring areas being the order of the day.

The game mechanics are actually fairly well rooted in Garfield lore, save for the immense amount of running and jumping necessary. Rather than a life bar, Garfield has an energy meter which is constantly draining, and must be refilled by picking up the orange cat's favorite foodstuffs in each level. If the energy bar reaches zero, Garfield instantly falls asleep -- who knew Garfield actually needed to eat that much in order to stay awake? Once Garfield has a nap attack, the player takes control of Odie, who needs to find an alarm clock within the level to wake his housemate back up. Other levels involve Garfield riding Odie or flying a hang glider through levels.

The game also features a rhythm-based mini-game where Garfield puts on a show for the audience. The game is played by touching different points on the lower screen in sequence. It takes a bit of getting used to, but the icons actually do synch up very well with the music and this ends up being one of the more enjoyable parts of the game.

Mechanically, Garfield's Funfest is a pretty solid platformer (save for some hit detection issues) and the rhythm portion of the game is also well done. The main issue gamers will have with Garfield's Funfest is its length. The game can easily be beaten within two hours, and while there are collectibles in each level and achievements to unlock, even most of these won't take experienced players a long time to finish.

multiplayer

N/A

overall

In the end, Garfield's Funfest is appealing to the same demographic as the direct-to-DVD movie itself: youngsters. While it does fairly well for itself overall, this is clearly a game for the "young people" and not for the thirty-three-year-old DS owner who just finished Chrono Trigger. Longtime Garfield fans can appreciate the references and authenticity, but the game's short length and low difficulty level won't satisfy those who have been dominating side-scrollers for decades.

final score 7.2/10





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Staff Avatar Aaron Roberts
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