(www.despicablemethegame.com/) Rated E for Everyone by ESRB. The supervillain Gru and his Corn Pops minion army have finally made their way to DS! With the great success in Despicable Me the movie, Gru continues his evil plan on the Nintendo handheld platform. Published by D3 Publisher and developed by Way Forward, Minion Mayhem is a puzzle solving game with new missions that are given not only to Gru and also the Corn Pops army. Are you brilliant enough to help Gru and the minions to achieve their goal?

(www.despicablemethegame.com/) Rated E for Everyone by ESRB. The supervillain Gru and his Corn Pops minion army have finally made their way to DS! With the great success in Despicable Me the movie, Gru continues his evil plan on the Nintendo handheld platform. Published by D3 Publisher and developed by Way Forward, Minion Mayhem is a puzzle solving game with new missions that are given not only to Gru and also the Corn Pops army. Are you brilliant enough to help Gru and the minions to achieve their goal?

Presentation:
Being the second supervillain in the world, Gru is facing his biggest competitor Vector, the most evil-minded person in the world. Yet Gru is not alone. With Gru are the minions with various abilities such as ability to beat enemy, ability to walk through fire, ability to drill through soft wall and so on. Working as a team, Gru and minions collect different items in order to execute their plan of defeating Vector the evil minded. And you, the brain-worker behind all these, are here to help Gru to achieve his goal.

The story telling aspect of Minion Mayhem is minimal, with only a brief explanation on the objective in the beginning of each series of missions. In terms of character design, not only characters such as Gru and Vector are featured from the movie, all new minions are added with different skills in order to help Gru accomplishes his mission. All minions are well designed and animated; adopting the general sense of the minions, all of them are distinct in appearance and ability yet at the same time share the same quality of clumsiness and foolishness.

       

Graphics:
Graphic is not necessary the strength of Minion Mayhem, which is about average among all DS games. In each chapter, stage backgrounds change to indicate the change of location. Beyond that, you will see everything is quite similar over time – they better do, if not there will be a hard time for players to figure out what is what. As a matter or fact, getting familiar with these features is the key to this game, in order to cooperate with the minions efficiently. Fortunately, new features will become available over time and the different combination of settings really keeps the game or its setting from getting tedious.

Sounds:
As Gru and the minions are on missions, the James Bond plus Pink Panther style of music suits it quite well (Well, it also sounds a bit robotic too). On top of that, every element has their own sound as you interact with them, including the cute-wooden voice that the minions make. In general, although not fancy, sound effects are quite decent and satisfactory.

       

Gameplay:
Minion Mayhem is a type of Lemmings puzzle game, in which the player is required to guide the minions, by using stylus only, to collect certain object(s) and then reach the exit. Well, it sounds simple enough? Of course not! The environment is full of dangerous elements such as spikes traps and bursting fire. In higher level stages, though you may have your route planned out, the camera will rotate or zoom in and out to distract you from giving accurate orders to the minions! The worst part is, all minions and Gru would not stop or even change direction unless something is blocking its way. So if there is a fire pit ahead, even Gru will walk right into it in no time if you do nothing – Well, Gru is not the brilliant mind this time. You Are! – The only way to save them from this deathly environment is a plan and your brilliant mind. There are many movable elements in each stage such as movable walls, elevating platforms and “shrinkable” ladders which allow you to either transport them or change their moving direction. And this is the only way for you to help Gru and his army to achieve their goal.

In general, this game is quite challenging. It’s quite a surprise considering the target audience of this game would be preteens, the difficulty of this game frustrates not only them but even adults. The lack of hints or help system sometimes turns the game from puzzle solving to a trial-and-error game. As skipping a level is not an option, it is possible for this game to wind up in the back of the closet just because you get too frustrated with one single stage. However, this is an excellent game choice for puzzle lovers.

Innovation:
As the Lemming is not a new game style, it makes a good combination with Despicable Me The Game. Unlike Despicable Me The Game on other platforms, which are third person adventure games, Minion Mayhem focuses more on teamwork and leadership, which turns Grus from the main character to the team leader of the minions. In addition, all the trap doors, spring pedals, air-sucking device and gravity-switching machine really break the boundaries of player imagination, making us think extra hard to solve the puzzle.

       

Longevity:
In term of longevity, it really depends on how clever, or how lucky you are. This game can be done in a couple hours if you are a genius, or forever if you get stuck mainly due to the lack of hints and ability to skip stages. For bonus, every time you clear a chapter, two bonus stages will appear for players to do something less despicable, which is to help out Margo, Edith, and Agnes. That said, everything in the bonus stages is basically the same. So it is just some extra brain workout for the players.

Conclusion:
Even though Despicable Me The Game: Minion Mayhem seems like an children’s game, it is not. Not even grown-ups can handle this easily. In other word, it is an excellent game choice for puzzle experts. For parents, don’t worry about the despicable aspect of the game, since nothing is related to despicable at all (except the name).

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