IGN Review of Strawberry Shortcake: Strawberryland Games
Strawberry Shortcake: Strawberryland Games comes with a scented instruction manual. Cracking open the case, it's unmistakable - that same farm-fresh fragrance you know from the dolls is there, filling your nostrils, hopefully not triggering anyone's allergies as you power on your DS. It's not often that a game seeks to appeal to you olfactorily. Sadly, that's the only thing Strawberryland Games does that's unique.
It's time once against for the almost annual Nearly-Once-a-Yearly Strawberryland Games, and Strawberry Shortcake is getting ready to go for the gold. She and most of her pint-sized, pastry-themed friends believe in fun and fair play, but there's one bad egg in the batter: Peppermint Fizz. Peppermint plans to cheat her way to victory and spoil things for the rest of the girls, and that leaves a bad taste in Strawberry's mouth. It's up to Miss Shortcake and her pets to ensure that the competitions are completed smoothly.
Jumping into Strawberryland, you'll find that there's no set schedule of events - it's left to you to decide which games to play, and how often to play them. Your choices are limited, though. Only a handful of mini-games make up this competition, and these include the following: Balloon Race, a vertical-scrolling platforming challenge where you use the stylus to draw jumping surfaces for Strawberry to leap to; Berry Boarding, a snowboarding design with a handful of tricks for your rider to execute; and Licorice Leap, where either Custard the Kitten or Pupcake the Puppy jumps across a lake as you drag and drop platforms to build them a path. These three games are categorized as the Game Day Races. None of them are deep enough to inspire more than a few laps, though.
Three other mini-game competitions take place on Strawberryland's Banana Split Beach - the Berry Cherry Games. These are a bit more fun and frantic, but still limited in scope. They include Berry Tiles, a simple flip-and-match grid game; Berry Bounce, where fruit flies through the air and must be tapped with the stylus; and Berry Tap, which is basically Whack-a-Mole with produce instead of rodents.
And that's it, sports fans. Six competitions in all. Success in any earns tickets that can be redeemed at the Dessert Booth, which is thankfully home to a bit of extra gameplay. There, Chef Angel Cake will direct you in dessert-baking in a simple version of Cooking Mama. The desserts prepared and purchased there can be used for speed boosts or other bonuses back in the race games. You likely won't need the help, though, as the items' effects are limited and the races' low level of difficulty makes their use unnecessary.
Strawberry's candy-and-cookie-filled world is presented vibrantly, at least, with an in-game presentation that matches the tone set by the game's scented book. The graphics and sound together paint a picture of an interactive Candy Land, and many of Strawberry's friends make appearances, if only brief ones. It's not so sugary-sweet as to send you running for your toothbrush, which speaks to a good sense of balance from the developers. When you know your product's going to be shipping in a perfumed package, you've got quite a task to keep from going over the top with the game itself.
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