IGN Review of Garfield: Tail of 2 Kitties
Eating, sleeping. Making dry remarks through thought balloons. That's the Garfield we know, the Garfield we find in the morning paper each day. But the Garfield we know isn't here. Here, in Garfield's A Tail of Two Kitties for the Nintendo DS, is an altogether different animal - one who runs, jumps and is far too active to be that same lazy cat from the comics page. Fans of the feline won't be fooled - this isn't Garfield at all.
A Tail of Two Kitties, the movie, was a summertime sequel following Garfield and friends to London, England. A Tail of Two Kitties, the game, has the same setting - but the connection ends there. This design is a by-the-numbers platformer with little tie-in to its source material, other than referencing, as its motivating factor for adventure, that Garfield loves lasagna.
Lasagna is what he'll get if he makes it to his friend Prince's palace, braving city streets, hedge mazes and dreary dungeons along the way. Gameplay is simple run and jump, nothing more than that. Through 3D environments Garfield dashes left or right along fixed 2D paths, leaping from ledge to ledge, sometimes disorientingly changing direction in mid-air as the camera and environment twist dynamically around the action.
Take a cue from the original Ninja Gaiden, Garfield can claw into certain walls and ladders to climb, or wall-jump back and forth between two such surfaces placed parallel. His talons also let him affix himself to ceilings on occasion, something the 8-bit Ryu Hayabusa never did.
Beyond jumping and clawing, the third and final action is employed in a handful of places - purring. Blowing into the DS microphone will cause Garfield to say "meow," but only in set locations where an icon appears in the lower-left portion of the screen. Meowing most often has no effect, save for a few times in later levels when the tactic must be used to knock down barriers blocking the path to progress.
And that's really all there is to it - Garfield has no other moves, no method of attack. Not that he'd need one, as enemies are incredibly scarce. Most of the title's levels are totally unpopulated, empty except for Garfield himself. An array of floating, collectible food items can be found scattered about, but grabbing these seems to serve no purpose - they don't replenish Garfield's hit counter or unlock any bonuses elsewhere in the game.
There are 22 levels in the game, but some of these can be completed, literally, in less than five seconds. These are the first-person perspective "through Garfield's eyes" levels, where players direct Garfield's gaze around a fixed environment using the stylus. Once the screen is centered on the right object, the level ends. "Perfect!" the game declares, as the stage select screen returns just as fast as it had disappeared not three heartbeats before.
The graphics engine is fair, with a few impressive visual moments to be discovered during the journey - but shimmering backgrounds and an inconsistent framerate come along for the ride. The music, too, is unremarkable, and the sound effects seem to be pulled from an all-purpose audio archive - when Garfield takes damage, a generic screeching cat noise is used.
And that's what A Tail of Two Kitties is - generic. With no real connection to Garfield's comedic attitude and no appearances by other characters like Odie or Jon, nothing really speaks "Garfield" beyond the title screen. You could replace his character model with a rabbit and call the game Happy Bunny's England Adventure - no one would know the difference.
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