Based on the computer animated movie sequel, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a 3-D romp through scenes and settings from the film. Young gamers can play as their favorite Madagascar animal, like Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Gloria the hippo, and others. The game is available for all the current gaming consoles, but the Wii version is reviewed here. So does Madagascar 2 fall into mediocrity like so many other movie based video games do? Or will your kids go wild over it? Read on to find out, you might be surprised!
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is a mix of light 3-D platform jumping and arcade style mini-games that follow the plot of the film. Each character has his or her own skills. Alex the lion can roar enemies away. Marty the zebra can run fast. Gloria the hippo can swim and pound the ground with her butt bounce (I bet you’ve never played a game where you use a hippo’s butt to shut overpacked suitcases!). Melman the giraffe uses his spindly legs like propellers to glide after a jump. And there are even more characters to play as on this adventure as well.
The graphics looks about as close to the movie visuals as possible, and even though they probably didn’t use the celebrity voice actors, the ones they got sound pretty darn close. Play control is a little loose in places, but since the game itself is so forgiving, lives are unlimited and checkpoints are plenty and frequent, a little snag in the control department doesn’t really matter much. This aspect, coupled with the light and easy difficulty level, makes Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa a great game for young gamers who loved the movie.
Escape 2 Africa is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes, and Simulated Gambling. The fighting is very cartoony. Players defeat enemies by throwing fruit at them, roaring them away, or the occasional penguin karate chop. But beaten enemies only disappear, run away, or fall asleep. The Mild Suggestive Themes come from a flirtatious male hippo. Simulated gambling comes from a little slot machine mini-game that you’ll miss it if you blink. If you’re OK with your kids watching the movie, they’ll be OK with the game, too. Reading skill isn’t necessary as most of the instructions have spoken voice.
The game is easy enough that a young gamer should be able to figure out most everything on their own. But there are a few instances where they may need a little help. Like in the dancing music rhythm mini-game, for instance. Some of the goals are also a little unclear and sometimes don’t make any sense whatsoever (who thought a lion’s rite of passage would involve Musical Chairs?). And the part that stumped me at first was where to find the wire cutters at the watering hole so the penguins can cut the fence. Well, I’ll tell you right now, those elusive wire cutters are near where the rhino was before you chased him away with the bees. Hope that helps.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is definitely one of the better movie based games for kids. And the writing is pretty witty, too. I don’t know if that’s good for the game or bad for the movie, though. At any rate, I bet most kids will have fun with this game and laugh at the funny gags all along the way. Definitely a good recommendation for fans of the movie.