I’ve been a massive fan of the Muppets for a long time. Ever since I was a kid infact, since the days of The Muppets Show back in the 70s. Despite not being one of the Vita’s biggest blockbusters that was earmarked to hit the console, The Muppets Movie Adventures was one of those games that I was strangely looking forward to more than most just because of the license that was attached to it.
Muppet Movie Adventures – Breaking The Mould?
While previous Muppets games on a variety of formats hadn’t been the greatest examples of video games ever, they still managed to remain mildly entertaining. Primarily this was because they made good use of the source material and characters at their disposal. The question I found myself asking was this platform game going to be the same or was this going to be the first truly superb Muppets game to grace a console…?
Taking the lead from the Muppets seen in the movies The Muppets and Muppets Most Wanted our hapless heroes have been tasked with creating a Hollywood blockbuster movie. Spanning five different themed areas (including pirate, western and sci-fi), each representing a different movie genre, you take on the role of one of the Muppet stars in platforming action. True to the genre, you just have to reach the end of each stage, defeat the boss and move onto the next stage.
The gameplay is little more than your average side-scrolling platform affair but there’s very little to challenge players here. There are a few objects that need some exploration to find, but for the most part the levels are quite linear and sparsely populated. There are some puzzles that need to be solved along the way to progress through each level, many of which make use of the Vita’s touch screen to solve, but there’s nothing too taxing and with plenty of on-screen help you’ll get past all of these with ease.
The only real challenge you’ll encounter are the bosses that need defeating and even then many of them can be taken out without breaking a sweat. It’s hardly a challenge for most gamers, although for some younger players they could prove to be frustrating so it makes me question just who this game is aimed at.
Being honest, Muppet Movie Adventures certainly looks the part. All the characters are well animated and are easily recognisable. As you’d expect, there’s plenty of humourous touches not only in the character animation, but from the background details as well. There’s no denying that it looks and feels just as you’d expect from a Muppets game and it doesn’t disappoint here. From the smallest detail right up to the end of level bosses, there’s very little to find fault with here.
The biggest disappointment for me was the sound and if I am being brutally honest it’s this lack of any real voiceover track that really took the game from being a potentially good Muppets game to being an average platformer. Just seeing dialogue displayed on screen between the character left them all feeling lifeless and two-dimensional. The Muppets are all about fun and quick-fire gags and the interplay between all of the regular gang, but I never got the sense of that once during the game. Reading a conversation between Kermit and Gonzo just didn’t work and just didn’t “feel” right. If that had been replaced with a full voice track with accompanying subtitles while it wouldn’t have changed the gameplay one bit, it would have changed the atmosphere of the game dramatically.
Even looking back at many of the earlier Muppets games on the PS2 or even the PS One not only did these feature voice tracks (or at least short samples of speech depending on the game in question) but the publishers went to the length of employing the talents of the original Muppet performers. Now while I appreciate that such lengths aren’t always practical for Vita exclusive titles so sound-a-likes are often called for (even Zen Studios had to do this for their Star Wars Pinball tables), adding a voice track wouldn’t have been too difficult a task for Disney with them not only being the game’s publisher but also the owner of the Muppets themselves.
I truly wanted to love this game. Even as an average game I would have lapped this up as a Muppets fan but it turned out to be a string of disappointments, one after another. None of the humour of the characters has transferred from the television or big screen across to the Vita and it certainly doesn’t live up to the hype on the packaging which promises that the “zany gang bring their unique blend of laughs, chaos and adventure to the Hollywood stage.” If they did, it certainly wasn’t anywhere to be seen in this game.
Apart from the look of the characters, this really could have been any old platform game and it reminded me too much of the old 8-bit era approach to film and TV tie-ins that really just slapped licences onto games to sell almost anything. One for die-hard Muppet collectors only.
At A Glance
- Title: The Muppets Movie Adventures
- Publisher: Virtual Toys / Sony Computer Entertainment
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PS Vita Card
- Cross Buy: N/A
- Cross Save: N/A
- Cross Play: N/A
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: TBC
- PlayStation TV Compatible: No