Take two clever kids, with limitless enthusiasm, and a talent for inventing. Add their big sister Candace, who is forever trying to bust them to their mom. Throw into the mix a highly skilled secret agent Platypus, Perry. His evil, but pretty hopeless, nemesis Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who has a serious ‘inator’ fixation (as in the diabolical Freeze-inator, the less diabolical Leaf Blower-inator, and the rather disturbing Poop-inator).
Put them all together and you get a short but playable video game full of crazy inventions, multiple realities, jelly monsters, and garden gnomes.
Following on from the Disney movie of the same name, Phineas and Ferb battle their way across six different dimensions. With the help of their friends, and their own alternative Phineas and Ferbs, they have to foil the plans of the surprisingly successful alternative dimension Doofenshmirtz, and get back home.
It’s the same platform shooter that we’ve seen time and again from Nickelodeon and Disney over the years. The boy’s weapons shoot baseballs, soda, or slime. Starfish shaped jellies, robots, and garden gnomes attack, but don’t cause too many problems. There are plenty of weapon upgrades, inventions to assemble, and gold coins to find, so you can take on the end of level bosses.
You don’t have any lives to lose, so falling off platforms or running out of energy just means you re-appear around about the same place. It’s all pretty easy, and mostly harmless (you might get a thumb cramp or a bit grumpy if it’s near nap time, but that’s really the worst that could happen), and it’s aimed fairly and squarely at the young gamer market.
So, at the risk of being a bit mean, what is the game actually like? The obviously answer is it’s too short and way too easy. Although the six levels look nice enough, from a world made of balloons, an old-time riverboat straight out of the Steamboat Willy world in Kingdom Hearts, to a futuristic city, there’s nothing too original.
There are platforms to jump across, rainbow slides, switches to switch, and laser lights to deflect. But, it all rolls on fairly blandly. By the end of the first area, you’ll have pretty much seen it all. While the enemies do get a bit bigger and more plentiful, the weapon mods you find easily take care of that.
Each of the six weapons you find has to be used once or twice to open a door and get out of an area. But, the more you use one the more powerful it becomes, so if you like the slime gloves, with a bit of use they’ll be good enough to get you through most situations.
At the end of each area you can play a couple of mini-games. These let you change your coins into tickets, which you can then use to buy things in the store. There are two games. There’s the typical fairground crane and a ‘roll the ball and hit the target’ game. Both become a chore fairly quickly so it will take a bit of grinding if you want to get enough tickets to buy all the playable alternate characters, costumes, and weapon mods that are available.
Actually, the store is almost the most fun part of the game. Being able to mod your gun to moo and shoot milk is an idea more games should try. While the characters and their extra costumes - like glam rock Agent Pinky, Pandaborg, and the various cheats that let play with big heads and Doofenshmirtz masks - give the game a shot of humour, overall the game lacks fun. If there is one thing the television series has, it’s laughs (and musical numbers). Compared to that, the game feels dry and uninspired.
Unfortunately the gameplay feels equally uninspired. While you can play as multiple characters, each with their own proficiency, they all play exactly the same. Resistance Isabella, second dimension Ferb, doctor Baljeet, all play like the same character just with a different skin.
But, it’s not a game targeted at me. If the kids like Phineas and Ferb, they’ll love it. There is nothing hard or scary about it, and if you feel the urge you can pick up another controller and go co-op on those annoying gnomes.
If the kids missed the movie then by all means head to the video store and get both the film and the game. But don’t be surprised if they like the movie best. After all it’s got more drama, more jokes, and the origin of Dr. Doofenshmirtz’s remarkable (‘remarkable’ in that it actually works) Other Dimension-inator.