The Muppets Movie Adventures Review

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Title: The Muppets Movie Adventures
Developer: Virtual Toys, Disney Interactive, Sony Computer Entertainment America
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 1.1 GB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download | Retail
PSTV Support: No 

It’s not every day that a PS Vita exclusive releases over here in North America, let along two in one week.  That was this past week with Danganronpa: Another Episode and another game that we’re going to take a look at in just a moment.  Exclusives are hard to come by with any system lately, more so the PlayStation systems with all of the “PlayStation Family” business going on with multi-platform releases.  It’s even rarer to see a family-focused game come out on the Vita, but that’s what we have today.

If you think back, how many family-focused exclusives does the Vita have?  Invizimals is definitely an all-ages series, and it’s got PS Vita Pets as well as the PS Vita’s LittleBigPlanet game.  But, maybe we should rephrase the question.  How many exclusives does the Vita have based on popular franchises for family content?  That would be almost nothing.  Until this past Tuesday.  It’s time to play the music and light the lights in my review of The Muppets Movie Adventures!

Story

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This isn’t very easy to explain because it’s not explained very well in the game.  In reality, you’re taken straight to a menu as soon as you start the game, not really explaining what’s going on until you actually go into one of the playable campaigns and levels of the game.

In short, The Muppets are in the processing of shooting five brand new movies, each starring one of their own in various movie genres.  You play as each of the stars as they perform each movie, from Kermit the Frog starring a Pirate Captain to Animal playing a Sherriff in the Old West.  Each individual story has its own background and setting, but there’s no overall plot across the entire game.  Due to this, it was a little strange to be able to figure out what to write for this section.  It’s like a collection of mini-stories.

Gameplay

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Movie Adventures is a side-scrolling platformer with combat and puzzle elements thrown into the mix.  If you’re a platformer fan, you’ll know what to expect out of the game.  Each story level has you side-scrolling through various areas while solving puzzles and fighting enemies to get from one point to the other, normally ending in a boss fight.  It’s got a lot of elements thrown in that nostalgic platformer fans will be very familiar with.

As I said earlier, when you first boot up the game, you will be taken to a menu.  Here, you can choose one of the 5 movies to play through, though you have to play them in order to get them all unlocked.  Each one stars a specific Muppet as you play through the story scenario the movie is set around.  To get to the end, you’ll be platforming through various areas and puzzle-solving while fighting enemies.

The puzzle-solving is fairly simple, for the most part.  Each campaign has its own unique way of puzzle-solving.  While one movie has you doing a side-quest to unlock items you need to go forward, others may require you to go through a grid-based color puzzle or moving through areas to unlock doors to find items to free the main path for you to travel.  It varies enough that it doesn’t feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over with different characters.

There are also collectible for you to gather in each level.  Each level has Gold Stars, Movie Reels, and a Golden Ticket to find, and you cannot find all of it on your first time through the level.  Upon beating a level, you unlock the next but also unlock a special ability required for getting those unobtainable collectives, so you can go back to collect them all in order to unlock artwork and other Extra content.

Combat is pretty simple.  Each movie has a different weapon for you to use from clubs and umbrella’s for melee attacks or guns and other projectile weapons.  Getting around enemies is as simple as learning their movements and either avoiding or attacking them at a precise moment.  Boss fights are like this as well, but have a little more trick to them.  Every boss has a specific pattern to their movements, so you should play around and learn their patterns.

Despite how this sounds, this isn’t a very hard game to play through.  There was only one boss fight that I didn’t defeat my first time around on.  This game is definitely made to accommodate for children and adults playing it, because it’s an incredibly easy game that platforming pros won’t get much, if any challenge from.  It’s a very casual game.

The last thing to discuss is length.  Each of the 5 campaign levels took me roughly 20 minutes to play a piece.  This is without going out of my way to look for collectibles, making the entire game almost 2 hours in length.  According to the game’s manual, more campaign levels will be releasing as DLC, but right now, the game is just shy of 2 hours in length your first time through.  Definitely one of the shorter platforming games on the Vita.

Controls

The first thing to note is that this game is not compatible with the PlayStation TV.  At first, I was a little bummed about this, but I soon found out why.  Not only are both touch screens used for puzzles, but the tilt/gyro features are also used throughout the game.  This is another one of those first-party-published games that uses a lot of the different features that the PS Vita can do, but the PSTV cannot.

This is just for puzzles, though.  Level progression is done with the buttons all the way through.  You use the Analog Stick to move your character (D-Pad does nothing, unfortunately) and the face buttons are used for interaction.  The X button is used for jumping and Square is used for attacking with your main weapon.  Triangle is used for sub-weapons in levels that have them, and Circle is used to interact with doors and other objects to activate puzzles.

Overall, it’s a very easy game to control and the game isn’t short of tutorials to show you how everything works.

Presentation

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This is where the game gets good, but also gets bad.  The first thing is the visual presentation.  While it’s not perfect, the visuals do look good.  There’s a lot of detail in the environments and character models.  Savor stopping and looking, you won’t be seeing many jagged edges.  Another thing is the music, which was done really well.  There is no shortage of movie-level symphonic music and it’s definitely one of the things I enjoyed the most in the game.

However, there are two issues with the presentation: Loading and Frame-Rate.  The load times are pretty long.  We’re not talking the 1-2 minute load times from Resident Evil Revelations 2, but more like 20-30 seconds per loading session.  Regardless, it’s a long time to wait, especially for a side-scroller.

The frame-rate is the other issue.  There are a lot of cases where the frames will not stay steady at all.  In the first level, I had a hard time even telling if the frames were steady or not.  It had a constant change slight enough that my eyes couldn’t quite catch it.  The other levels, though, have some sections where there are very noticeable dips.  It’s worth mentioning.

Summary

The Muppets Movie Adventures is the first time a PS Vita gamer will be able to play as The Muppets.  On the downside, the story is very confusing, the game is less than 2 hours long, and there are issues with the loading sequences and frame-rate.  If you love The Muppets and platformers and are looking for a nice casual game for the family to play on the go, it’s not a bad choice.  However, it is in no way the system’s best platformer. 

6/10

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