All posts tagged 'Television'

The Smurfs: Colorful Stories (Switch)

In the distant past, long before streaming services and 24-hour cartoon channels, there was a thing called Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Kids back then, me included, looked forward to this time because it was one of the only times TV was made just for kids.  And as a child of the 80s, one of the most popular of these cartoons I remember was The Smurfs.  Originally a European comic strip, The Smurfs gained popularity in the US from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon.  I was never a super big fan of it, but I watched it anyway because, one, kids will watch pretty much anything.  And two, it came on right before the Pac-Man cartoon.  In recent years, The Smurfs have had a bit of a resurgence with a handful of computer animated movies and specials, and a new series on Nickelodeon.  And there’s been a few Smurfs video games I’ve reviewed in the past couple of years, like a kart racer and two 3D platformers.  And now the youngest players get their turn on the Switch with The Smurfs: Colorful Stories, a virtual coloring book on the Switch.

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The Smurfs Learn and Play (Switch)

In the distant past, long before streaming services and 24-hour cartoon channels, there was a thing called Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Kids back then, me included, looked forward to this time because it was one of the only times TV was made just for kids.  And as a child of the 80s, one of the most popular of these cartoons I remember was The Smurfs.  Originally a European comic strip, The Smurfs gained popularity in the US from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon.  I was never a super big fan of it, but I watched it anyway because, one, kids will watch pretty much anything.  And two, it came on right before the Pac-Man cartoon.  In recent years, The Smurfs have had a bit of a resurgence with a handful of computer animated movies and specials, and a new series on Nickelodeon.  And there’s been a few Smurfs video games I’ve reviewed in the past couple of years, like a kart racer and two 3D platformers.  And now the youngest players get their turn on the Switch with The Smurfs Learn and Play!  There are four games on here, so let’s take a look at them!

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Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2 (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

For several generations, youngsters have enjoyed watching shows on the Nickelodeon cable channel for kids.  Heck, even when I was little back in the 80’s, I enjoyed watching Nick shows such as You Can’t Do that on Television, Danger Mouse, and Double Dare.  Even more recently I’ve been known to watch shows on that channel like Invader ZIM and The Penguins of Madagascar.  My younger brothers would watch shows on Nickelodeon, too, such as Rugrats and SpongeBob Squarepants.  A couple of years ago we got a Smash Bros. clone featuring Nickelodeon characters from all generations, and now we get a sequel to that.  It’s available on nearly all current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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DreamWorks All-Star Kart Racing (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

Your favorite DreamWorks computer animated movie characters have come together to race each other in this kart game!  Compete with characters and race on tracks based on all sorts of DreamWorks franchises like Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Bad Guys, Madagascar, How to Train Your Dragon, Boss Baby, Trolls, and Megamind!  The game is available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Dreamworks Trolls Remix Rescue (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

With a couple of musical movies, holiday specials, and a TV series, Trolls is one of DreamWorks most successful franchises.  And now there’s a new video game!  An evil troll has hypnotized everyone by playing smooth jazz from his magical clarinet, and now it’s up to Poppy, Branch, and others to stop him in this 3D platformer.  You can even create your own troll character to play as!  The game is available on current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

In the distant past, long before streaming services and 24-hour cartoon channels, there was a thing called Saturday Morning Cartoons.  Kids back then, me included, looked forward to this time because it was one of the only times TV was made just for kids.  And as a child of the 80s, one of the most popular of these cartoons I remember was The Smurfs.  Originally a European comic strip, The Smurfs gained popularity in the US from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon.  I was never a super big fan of it, but I watched it anyway because, one, kids will watch pretty much anything.  And two, it came on right before the Pac-Man cartoon.  In recent years, The Smurfs have had a bit of a resurgence with a handful of computer animated movies and specials, and a new series on Nickelodeon.  And that begat a few Smurfs games, too.  Like a kart racer I reviewed last year, and a 3D platformer I reviewed the year before that called The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf.  The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone is the sequel to that game.  In this installment, Handy Smurf has invented the Smurfomix, a gun that shoots out pastries and cakes.  But he’s having trouble getting it to work right so he decides to sneak into Gargamel’s Lair to use a magic green stone to help improve it.  But when Handy accidentally breaks the green stone, a mysterious being named Stolas is freed and wreaks havoc and scattered green crystals everywhere.  Now Handy, Brainy, Storm, and the other Smurfs must make a temporary alliance with Gargamel to stop the chaos and save the day.  It’s a bit of a shock, but this game is actually kind of good, and it’s available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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Barbie Dreamhouse Adventures (Switch, Mobile)

For nearly every little girl who loves to play with Barbie dolls, the ultimate dream is to own Barbie’s Dreamhouse, a giant dollhouse for Barbie and her friends.  And now your little girl can have that dreamhouse without having to put in a second mortgage and spend all night putting it together with Barbie Dreamhouse Adventure.  It’s basically a virtual dollhouse for the Switch. When I first popped this review copy into my Switch, the game seemed vaguely familiar.  Turns out I reviewed this game five years ago when it was just a mobile app.  But this version takes out all the in-game purchase crap and adds a bunch of new things, so that’s good.  As a 47 year old man, I don’t have any interest in Barbie, but the franchise sure did get a boost of popularity this past year with that new live action movie that just came out (never saw it myself).  But let’s take a tour of Barbie’s Dreamhouse and see what all you can do!

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I Guest Starred on Some Friends’ Podcast!

I have some friends that I’ve known and talked to on the Internet and in person for a long time.  Like, since college, which was about 25 years ago!  They have a podcast about cartoons now, and when they talked about the Pac-Man cartoon from the 80s, they had me be on the show with them!  I am the biggest Pac-Man fan out there so why wouldn’t they?  But seriously, it was an honor to be on the show with them and meant a lot to me that they included me and I was very thankful.  So please give it a listen and let me know if you have any questions.

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Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon: Party Edition (Switch, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

I’m a big fan of stop motion and clay animation.  I even took a class on it once back in my college years so I have a lot of respect for the folks who do that stuff for a living.  One of my favorite stop motion animation studios is Aardman.  They’ve done stuff like Creature Comforts and the Chevron car commercials, but probably their most famous work is the Wallace and Gromit series.  One of the side characters in Wallace and Gromit was a sheep named Shaun.  He was so popular that he got his own spinoff TV show and movies about his adventures on the farm with his barnyard friends.  Heck, even the youngest sheep on that show got his own preschool spinoff show called Timmy Time!  So yeah, a spinoff of a spinoff.  Anyway, now Shaun the Sheep and his fleecy friends are in their own video game: a 2-D action puzzle platformer on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

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Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

In the 80s and 90s, Double Dragon was HUGE!  It wasn’t the first side scrolling beat ‘em up, but it was the first one to really dictate what these types of games would be like in the future.  It was definitely one of the first two player co-op beat ‘em ups, though, and that’s what made it so popular in arcades back then.  The arcade game got countless ports, sequels, and even cameos in other games.  There was even a Double Dragon cartoon and cheesy live action movie!  And they keep coming back, even to this day!  The newest entry is Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons, and it’s available on all current consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

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