By Patrick Tedder
Let’s just get out of the way what we’re all thinking. Yes, I am reviewing a Barbie game, but the premise was too good to not pique my curiosity:
· Find lost puppies around town and solve clues to rescue pups in need.
· Customize kennels with toys, blankets, beds, and more!
· Groom and care for puppies and teach them fun new tricks.
Apparently this game was made in conjunction with a Barbie DVD, Barbie and her Sisters in the Great Puppy Adventure. The game even opens with a decent video that looks like it is pulled straight from a Barbie cartoon. Sadly, after this ends, things go south pretty quick and it’s apparent the dogs aren’t the only thing that need rescuing.
Barbie gets on her bike and proceeds to plow through a generic town with about the grace of a bull in a china shop. There are no cars to avoid, but you’ll either go through folks walking around or bounce off people also biking, but Barbie, being as durable as she is, doesn’t fall down.
After aimlessly searching the town, Barbie will finally be thrown a bone when the player is told where to capture a roaming pup. You’ll get off your bike, look for the dog, and play any number of mini-games until the dog has been rescued. The games are never too difficult for kids—they largely consist of going through little mazes or pressing buttons at a certain time to help a pooch.
Once the dog is caught, you’ll take it back to Pup Central where you’ll perform any number of tasks such as naming the dog and removing fleas. From there, the dog is off to an outdoor kennel to reenergize before being able to take on another task, such as being played with or having their teeth brushed. Along the way, you can buy stuff for your dogs in the kennel such as bowls and special dog beds.
When all is said and done, you try to match a dog with a potential owner, and that’s it. Rinse and repeat. From there, I guess Barbie continues to find stray dogs until the end of time? I’ll be honest, if there is an end, I didn’t get there. I couldn’t take the tedium, or the bad controls, or the bad graphics. I know it’s a game geared toward young children, but don’t they deserve better? This Barbie game makes the Lego games look like masterpieces.
To give credit where it’s due, Barbie does wear a helmet when on her bike, and I suppose this game shows children how to treat dogs well; but just because this game is for kids and doesn’t include shooting up bad guys doesn’t mean it should be such low quality.
I guess there aren’t a plethora of family friendly games, but it’s hard to call this a game, even keeping in mind that it is geared toward a younger audience. Cash grabs like this are the antithesis of what parents should be allowing for their kids. In fact, it’s a great opportunity to teach their kids about consumerism and importance of “buyer beware.”