Game Review: Shrek: Forever After: The Final Chapter (Wii, PS3, 360, DS, PC)

The ogre Shrek has rescued Princess Fiona and found his one true love, and saved the kingdom of Far, Far Away in the process. Now he’s famous throughout the fairy tale land, but Shrek longs for the days when he was just a fearsome ogre. The conniving Rumplestilskin tricks Shrek into allowing him to become a regular ogre for a day, but now our green hero is stuck in an alternate reality where Rumple rules and Shrek and Fiona have never met! Now you can help Shrek and his friends save the day one more time with the video game based on the movie for Wii, PS3, 360, DS, and PC (360 and DS versions reviewed here).

In the 360 game, play as Shrek, Fiona, Donkey, and Puss N Boots in an action brawler based on the recent summer flick. View the action in an overhead perspective as you punch, kick, and roar at all manner of fairy tale baddies. Up to four players can join in at any time during the quest. Collect coins to buy health upgrades and attack power-ups in the shop at the Ogre Camp. Use the Magic Mirror to switch between Shrek’s world and the alternate reality as you collect secret items and solve puzzles.

Speaking of which, while you do spend a lot of time punching and kicking enemies, there is a fair amount of teamwork based puzzles, too. Each character has his or her own skills that you can switch out and utilize. For instance, to use a catapult, Shrek will need to carry something heavy to put in the launcher. Then Donkey can use his hind legs to kick the catapult in the direction you want it to fire. And agile Puss N Boots can jump up and launch it. Each character also has specific special attacks. Shrek can scare enemies by roaring, while Donkey can stun them by singing very badly.

While the game doesn’t use the actors from the movie, the voice imitators they do have sound just like their celebrity counterparts. Songs from the films litter the game, adding to the authenticity. Play control is easy to learn, and just about any age can enjoy it. Hardcore gamers might get a little bored with this simple and short movie-based game, but families with Shrek fans young and old should still enjoy it.

The DS version is a more solo affair based on the movie. Play as Shrek in a 3-D over-the-shoulder view as he punches enemies and jumps over obstacles and pits. Collect secret items while exploring swamps and castles. These items will allow you to upgrade Shrek’s skills as well as unlock mini-games featuring Shrek’s friends, plus other goodies like stickers and scenes you can use to make your own pictures in Ogre Artist mode.

The 3-D graphics are actually pretty impressive for the DS handheld, even though sometimes the camera angles can cause some untimely misses. Luckily there are plenty of checkpoints and endless tries, so younger gamers shouldn’t get too frustrated. Play control is easy to learn, you can even use the DS microphone to make Shrek roar and stun enemies. Again, older, hardcore gamers might get bored with it, but younger Shrek fans should enjoy this game.

Kid Factor:

Shrek: Forever After: The Final Chapter on 360 is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence, Comic Mischief, and Mild Lyrics. The DS version is rated E with an ESRB descriptor of Cartoon Violence. While you do punch and kick all manner of fairy tale baddies, they only fall down and disappear when defeated. Really, if you’re OK with your kids watching the movies, they’ll be OK with the game, too.

Reading skill isn’t needed as all the text is paired with spoken voice, which is quite an accomplishment for the DS game especially. Most gamers won’t get frustrated with the light difficulty, but some younger players might have trouble with the 360 version’s tricky puzzles or the DS version’s tougher jumps. Luckily you have frequent checkpoints and endless tries on the DS, and the whole family can join in and help on the 360 game. Shrek: Forever After is a decent diversion for families with young Shrek fans.

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