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Shrek Forever After

For: Mobile   Also on: iPhone

Green-eyed monster

Product: Shrek Forever After: The Game | Publisher: Gameloft | Format: Mobile | Genre: Film/ TV tie- in, Platform | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 1,598KB | Reviewed on: Sony Ericsson C510 other handsets | Version: Europe
Shrek Forever After: The Game Mobile, thumbnail 1
Fans of innovation and ingenuity were never likely to make a Shrek adventure their first port of call.

Conversely, those itching to play as the green ogre tend to hanker for something more familiar - a traditional platformer with all the colour and character of the film series, but with a steady base in platform titles of old.

By every measure available, that's what the last two games in the series – Shrek Party and Shrek the Third – made their signature. Both served up Sonic style play that melded well enough with the Shrek franchise to make playing as a large, green ogre rather than a super-speedy hedgehog viable.

Shrek Forever After should be more of the same. Sadly, while almost all of the elements from the last outing remain – levels essentially filled with typical running and jumping style platform play – the whole experience is a rather lazy one.

Appearances can be deceptive

What's most disappointing is that, for the opening few minutes at least, Shrek Forever After very much resembles its more proficient predecessors. Indeed, if you have any experience whatsoever with Shrek's other mobile outings, you'll know the score here from the off.

Switching between playing as Shrek, Donkey, and Fiona, you plod through each level picking up Shrek dollars, jumping on or charging into guards and collecting an assortment of items that are scatted throughout the architecture.

As before, the plot – which finds Shrek battling through an alternative world in order to win back Fiona – matters very little, but likewise doesn't get in the way.

The controls are especially simple, as ever, with jumping left and right handled by keys '1' and '3' respectively, and charging a case of holding down '5'.

Indeed, you never need to think about any of this for too long, given that the game – as before – signposts every single move you need to make, making play a case of following a set of instructions from beginning to end.

This was palatable in previous editions, given that the level design gave you some room to experiment, and actually pulling off said check-list was, in itself, quite fun. But Shrek Forever After is far drier, and play really does feel like jumping through a series of rather rudimentary hoops.

Messy afterparty

Just why is quite hard to pin down. The levels themselves, at least superficially, are populated with the same sorts of elements: chains to swing from, platforms to leap to, and even underground tunnels to discover are all present.

But while all the boxes appear to have been ticked, the stages in which they reside are far more confined. The overly linear layout simply takes you from one simple problem to the next without much thought having been put into how to link them up.

It makes Shrek Forever After a bit of a vacuous experience. For whatever reason, the magic that previously kept the series comfortably above water has been lost.

This is a franchise that undoubtedly reached its zenith with its last release. It now appears to have been cut loose, going absolutely nowhere.

As such, those looking to sample the kind of play that Shrek Forever After looks to tap into – or, indeed, those simply chasing a smart platformer full stop – should take a punt on Shrek Party
Shrek Forever After
Reviewer photo
Keith Andrew | 25 May 2010
Dragging on the coattails of its predecessors, Shrek's fall from grace in Shrek Forever After is sad to watch, but suggests the franchise needs something of a reset if it's to move forward
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