The fat orange cat of newspaper comic strip fame now has his own game for various smartphones and tablets (iPad version reviewed here). Garfield takes a nap in an easy chair and dreams of something he’d never do while awake: run as far as he can. Not to mention flying to collect coins and floating lasagna! That’s right; Garfield’s Wild Ride is clearly inspired by other continuously running games, especially Jetpack Joyride!
Those who have played Jetpack Joyride will know what to expect from Garfield’s Wild Ride. Garfield constantly runs from left to right, and when you touch the screen, he’ll fly upwards (remember, this is all in Garfield’s dream). Release and you’ll descend to the ground. You must avoid obstacles and try to run as far as you can. Along the way you can collect coins, flying lasagna, and gather power-ups to give you a boost.
These power-ups include jockeying a giant Odie, riding a skateboard, flying as Super Garfield, or using Pooky to magnetically collect nearby coins. Aside from the giant Odie power-up, the other powers will last until you bump into an obstacle. So they act as an extra hit, too. If you run into a barrier without a power-up, it’s Game Over and you’ll have to start again.
Similar to Jetpack Joyride and other games of this ilk, you’ll have missions that you can try to complete, like collecting a certain number of coins, running a specified distance, or using a type of power-up. Only problem is that you must complete all three objectives listed before moving onto the next, whereas other games like this let you take on new missions after one has been completed. This can bog the game down, especially if you have to beat a tough objective to move onto the next ones.
Use the collected coins in the shop to buy outfits for Garfield. The really useful stuff you can buy, like upgrades for power-ups and new levels, cost WAY too many coins to buy. You’d have to play for a really long time to get them. You can buy extra coins with money, which is probably what the game makers want you to do. You can also buy trophies with the lasagnas you get, but the trophies don’t seem to have any use whatsoever. Once per day you can spin a wheel to get more coins and lasagna, and completed missions net you coins as well.
I’m fine with licensed games imitating other titles, just so as long as the license adds something to make the game more fun or please fans of the franchise. Unfortunately, I don’t think Garfield’s Wild Ride really does that. The humor just isn’t there, and you’re doing something that Garfield would never do anyway. It just doesn’t ‘feel’ like Garfield. On the plus side, it is a game that anyone can pick up and play.
Nothing violent here. Only thing that happens when Garfield gets hit is that he just falls on his belly with a disgusted look on his face. And it’s all a dream anyway so nobody gets hurt. Reading skill is helpful for some of the shop menus, but you can figure things out easily just by playing. A little bit of supervision is recommended so your kids don’t buy extra coins in the shop accidentally. If you’re OK with your kids reading the Garfield comic or watching the cartoon show, they’ll be OK with this game, too.
Speaking of cartoon shows, the look of Garfield’s Wild Ride is based on a recent computer animated TV series about Garfield, simply titled The Garfield Show. Unfortunately, it isn’t very good. I’m actually a pretty big Garfield fan, and when Garfield was super popular in the 80’s and every car in the parking lot had a Garfield suction cup plush on their windows, I was right there as a kid soaking it all in! If you want share the fun of Garfield with your kid, I’d stay away from the new cartoon show and the awful live-action movies. Instead, I’d track down DVDs of Garfield and Friends, a late 80’s/early 90’s Saturday morning cartoon that was actually really good. It was animated by Film Roman, an Emmy award winning studio who did animation for other popular cartoons back then, like The Simpsons. I think you can find Garfield and Friends on Netflix, too! Anyway, I could probably write tons more paragraphs about Garfield, but I think I’ll stop right there.