“Shrek the Third” offers more than just the usual playable events of the hit film, like most tie-ins. With a diverse cast of assumable characters, a simple yet fun multiplayer mode and a great collection of minigames, “Third” is a surprisingly good outing, sure to be embraced by the junior-gamer demo to which it’s targeted.
Like any good tie-in, “Third” follows the same plot as the film, with the gang trying to find a new heir to the throne. And like every other movie license, a few scenes have been enhanced and expanded, offering players the chance to go further into the story.
The graphics are bright and colorful and the lack of a controllable viewpoint keeps things simple, albeit at times frustrating. The controls on the Xbox 360 are solid and smooth, and require next to no time to pick up. The controls on the Wii version, however, are not as intuitive. Shaking the Wii remote delivers one set of attacks, shaking the nunchuk offers another. It was far too easy to get confused.
What really helps “Shrek” stand out are the extras included with the main adventure. Cutscreens are produced in a quirky puppet-show style that maintains the cheekiness of the franchise and helps move the story along. The multiplayer castle wall-smashing game is reminiscent of the console classic “Rampart” and also one of the best elements of the package. The five minigames offer fun diversions like target practice, shuffleboard and herding frogs. Here, the Wii’s point-and-shoot control system shines, especially in the target-practice games. The minigames themselves are worth the price of the disc, and are exciting enough to warrant replay.
But “Shrek” is not without moments that remind the player that this still is a tie-in game that was most likely rushed to meet the pic’s release date. During one level, while playing as Sleeping Beauty, it was possible to land in a strange place and lock up the action, a bug that no doubt would have been fixed had the developers had more time.
It may be a sad comment on the genre, but “Shrek the Third” is the rare family movie tie-in that’s absolutely worth the price — even for the high-end Xbox 360 version.