The Simpsons Game DS
Published by: Electronic Arts
Developed by: Electronic Arts
Release Date: Out Now
The Simpsons Game for the 360, Wii, and PS2 was a 3D action platform game. Needless to say that going down the same route for the DS version would have been risky to say the least. Wisely the developers of the DS version decided to make the game a 2D side-scrolling action platform game. Those deaf gamers who do opt for the DS version will miss out completely on the game’s humour, which is rather annoying as the bulk of the game’s appeal is its humour.
After a short tutorial, featuring Homer in the Land of Chocolate, the game will begin with Bart purchasing a copy of Grand Theft Scratchy, a game he isn’t old enough to play. On leaving the videogame store, he bumps into Marge who spots the game and confiscates it. Annoyed, Bart mooches around until he finds a copy of The Simpsons Game manual. He opens the manual and discovers that he and the other members of his family have special powers. There isn’t so much of a good story here as a whole load of hilarious nonsense that fits together surprisingly well. All of the game’s levels have their moments with some being based on older episodes and some being parodies of other games. The game has a fair amount of collectibles and whilst you’ll probably finish your first play through in a handful of hours, there’s plenty of replay value here.
Whilst the DS version of The Simpsons Game is similar to the other versions there are some key differences. As we’ve already mentioned the game is a 2D side-scrolling game as opposed to being a full 3D experience. The graphics actually look quite good although with the move to 2D the presentation of the game’s levels have been redesigned. The action takes place over the two screens and this actually works really well. There is limited touch screen support and for the bulk of the game you’ll simply be using the directional pad and the primary buttons. Between levels you’ll get to look after your Pet Homer. You’ll see Homer sitting on the couch and you can use the stylus to pass items to him that you’ve unlocked during the levels. You can feed and shave him amongst other things to improve his energy and mood. It’s features like those that are appealing for all of about five minutes. During the levels you’ll have two characters that you can control. Unlike the other versions of the game, you can’t switch between the characters at will. You’ll simply be given control of the character you need to progress through the situation. The DS version also includes a few multiplayer modes for single-card and multi-card play (supporting up to four players).
The other versions of The Simpsons Game that we’ve seen have been subtitled. Unfortunately the DS doesn’t offer subtitles at all. Essentially, this means that deaf gamers are going to miss out on all of the game’s humour. This is a hammer blow in all honesty as humour is a big part of the game’s appeal and without the humour you are simply looking at a decent action platform game that happens to use The Simpsons characters. Text tutorial information is shown on the top screen and you’re notified in text on the touch screen when a checkpoint has been reached. In short deaf gamers will have no problems playing the game but because there are no subtitles, deaf gamers will be unaware of the game’s humour and without the humour it’s quite a bland experience.
Like the other versions of The Simpsons Game, the DS version is a standard action platform game that gets by on a good use of The Simpsons licence and a healthy dose of Simpsons style humour. With the game not being subtitled the DS version hasn’t even got the humour to fall back on and deaf gamers will simply have a decent 2D action platform game that happens to feature characters from The Simpsons. It’s tough to recommend the DS version to deaf gamers because of the lack of subtitles. The other versions we’ve seen have been subtitled and there the humour helps to add charm and much needed Simpsons flavour to the game. The DS version doesn’t have this luxury and it’s less appealing for it.