Yogi Bear: The Video Game
DS | D3Publisher / Monkey Bar Games | 1 Player | Out Now (North America)
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27th January 2011; By KnucklesSonic8
If you've watched the movie, your knowledge of the story will be greater than that of the average player as Yogi Bear DS keeps story to a minimal. The general premise is that Jellystone Park is in danger of closing down on account of decreased activity. And so, Yogi decides to go about assisting Mr. Ranger with his woes. Not one to enjoy being left behind, Boo Boo goes along for the adventure as well, following his partner's lead. Initially, he ends up doing more harm than good, but by the end of the game, Yogi manages to redeem himself for all the trouble he causes. I suppose there's a moral in that somewhere.
Anyway, Story Mode is broken up into four different areas consisting of multiple themed stages. The first three levels at Jellystone Park involve collecting pies, all the while avoiding detection from campers and dogs who will increase your Trouble Meter. If the meter reaches full capacity, you'll be forced to start the stage over again. This remains true in all stages any time you're attacked. As you make your way through each stage, the items you'll collect will change depending on how the short story segments unfold. You'll go from collecting strawberries and hot dogs, to maps and clipboards. The enemies that exist in each setting also vary. Dogs, bees, police officers and secret agents are just some of the obstacles you'll encounter. Pretty mediocre stuff here.
There are two collectables in particular that appear in all stages: "Pic-a-nic" baskets and gears. In each stage, there are three baskets to collect, and most of the time, these are fairly easy to spot. If you collect them all, a bonus level will occur at the conclusion of a stage allowing you to control Boo Boo in a brief collect-a-thon. While these don't serve too big of a purpose in the grand scheme of things, gears, on the other hand, do.
Once you've collected a sufficient amount of gears, you can access the Gadget Inventory on the Stage Select screen and work off of a blueprint to create one of six special items. You'll start by using your stylus to connect a series of dots, and then proceed to fitting individual pieces into outlined areas. The first gadget you'll unlock is a set of custom-made spring shoes that allow you to reach high platforms. For what it is, I think these items are somewhat interesting mostly because they help encourage repeated plays on earlier stages for the sake of discovering new areas.
Wherever you find yourself over the course of your adventure, the controls always remain the same. The D-Pad is used to move Yogi left and right; pressing the B Button will get Yogi to jump, while two presses will perform a double jump. While in the air, you can also press the A Button to perform a ground pound. And finally, holding the Y Button will get Yogi Bear to run in the direction you're travelling. Controls are pretty easy to get used to, which should be expected for a game like this. The display shown on the touch screen shows how many gears, "pic-a-nic" baskets, and item pick-ups you've collected. You can activate one of the five gadgets by tapping a respective icon and setting it to the A Button.
Every other set of stages you encounter will switch out your Trouble Meter for a Fame Meter that will constantly go down with time. Your goal in these stages is to clear the stage without having the meter deplete completely; collecting cameras and getting your picture taken by tourists will help towards that cause. At least here they tried to switch things up a bit, but after trying this gameplay variation once, it doesn't really make you feel any better about the game's quality (or lack thereof) as you make progress.
Since we're on the subject, let's talk more about the look of the overall package. There's no beating around the bush on the matter: Yogi Bear: The Video Game isn't anything special in the benchmark it sets for itself on presentation. Both the visuals and the music reach average level, nothing more. At least there was some variety in the environments you travelled to.
The story sequences don't look well done, especially considering the way the film is presented. And again, it bears repeating that story has taken a backseat in this game and in some instances it even reaches questionable levels. I thought it was very silly how some of the events that took place during the final sequence were unexplained during the stages that led up to that point. Seeing Mr. Ranger express interest in discussing a romantic relationship with his new female friend, for example. I guess the developers expected most to have watched the movie before playing the game, which may have been a bit premature on their part.
Reaching the end of the game isn't difficult by any means. You can easily beat it in less than three hours, and although you can still aim for full completion on the game, there's very low motivation to actually follow through on that. While waiting for the credits to scroll by, you can't help but think about whether or not the game was worth playing through. And unless you're about eight years of age or younger, most will find this is a pretty worthless experience. At no time did I feel like I was having fun, nor did I feel like introducing this game to my young relatives thinking they'd enjoy it. Although it's not as slow-paced as I thought it might be (thanks to the ability to run at full speed) and the gadgets do help matters a little, it's still unexciting to play.
Aside from Story Mode, players can also play one of two mini-games: Picnic Pilfer, and Food Craze. Neither of these are even worth talking about. They're not enjoyable to play, but they've also been seen before in other games. Pretty lame attempts if you ask me. If you can gather everything there is to find in a level, you'll unlock one of sixteen stills from the movie in the Gallery Mode. Not that that would do anything for anyone, but I suppose it's still worth noting.
There's absolutely nothing about the DS version of Yogi Bear: The Video Game that would make me feel like recommending this to younger audiences. Even if someone in your family loved the movie, you should just stay away from the game altogether. It's just so very unmoving that it's neither worth your time, nor your money.
14/30 - Below Average
Gameplay 5/10 - Mediocre at best, collect food items and baskets in each level, gears used to create gadgets, basic level design, easy controls
Presentation 5/10 - Average music and visuals, different environments, story sequences are not well done, minimal (even questionable) story incorporation
Enjoyment 2/5 - Contains some variety, the gadgets make the game more tolerable, still unexciting and not very fun to play
Extra Content 2/5 - Short length, lame mini-games, Gallery Mode, very little reason to come back to it, definitely not worth your money
Equivalent to a score of 47% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)