IGN Review of Fairly Odd Parents: Clash with the Anti-World
While children's licensed products are a dime a dozen on the GBA, it still amazes us that franchises like SpongeBob can crank upwards of 10 titles during a single system's lifespan. Store shelves are overrun with licensed games, using the kiddy image of Nintendo to push waves and waves of interactive cartoons to the masses. While Fairly OddParents hasn't seen as much exposure as the aforementioned sponge, it was still no surprise to see the all too familiar box arrive at our doorstep. While the packaging and subtitle may differ, Fairly OddParents: Clash with the Anti-Word offers very little to further the franchise as a third generation product.
Fairly OddParents starts off with the usual interface, offering the OddParents font and backdrops as always. Much like previous versions, Clash with the Anti-World offers no battery support, forcing players to enter passwords made up of numbers, letters and symbols, showing yet again that technology can't be forced on penny-pinching marketers. Why not make the game in 8-Bit if nobody has any product integrity? Hell, just make it in black and white to avoid palate restrictions on the hardware while you're at it. Lack of battery save this late in the game is simply embarrassing.
The gameplay elements of Fairly OddParents are solid for the most part, but lack any substantial depth. The game is based on using wish power to change how the main character, Timmy, interacts with enemies and the environment. There is even a mildly entertaining racing level which feels very much like the mine car in Donkey Kong Country. A few cool ideas have been worked into the main game as well, allowing the gardener Timmy to water tiny plants and make them grow the entire height of the screen. Ninja Timmy becomes invincible as long as he is standing still, and wall-jumps are used to gain access to new areas.
Unfortunately, the gameplay execution lacks any kind of polish. The racing level can be beaten by simply holding the gas, while the platforming is amazingly difficult, requiring perfect double jumps for even the most simple of navigation. On top of the difficulty, the game is insanely short, clocked at only 40 minutes per playthrough. Attempts were made to extend the lifespan through unlcockable characters and abilities, though in the end it isn't enough to warrant a $30 purchase. There really is nothing that will set this experience above either of the previous games. In the end, it is just another box on the shelf.
Graphical and audio presentation is a similar story, offering very little to further the experience. The sound production is simply horrendous, bordering on the some of the worst on the system. It is obvious that quality wasn't a concern, as many of the sound effects have awkward cuts or sound tinny through the GBA speakers. The art style is entirely basic, offering only average animation quality and generic backgrounds. Character animation is choppy and unfinished, having some enemies actually disappear off the screen rather than having a death animation. Better character movement has been seen on Game Boy Color, which is simply inexcusable. It is obvious the development team did what they had to do to collect the paycheck, adding nothing above and beyond the original, lackluster design.
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