Megamind is one of this year's most successful family movies featuring an entertaining premise and some really big names voicing characters. The tie-in videogame features neither of these things. Is this enough to dismiss it entirely? Certainly not. Megamind is a surprisingly entertaining action platformer featuring inventive puzzles and imaginative weapons. Although not without its flaws, you could certainly do a lot worse than this if looking for something to entertain your children.
The story is presented as a sequel to the film with the blue headed avenger fighting his way across the city trying to capture a villain named "Blue Tighten". It would be nice to have seen something a little bit more ambitious than just tracking down bosses that lead to the main villain. Nothing else happens apart from this. No character development, no twists or turns in plot, no great revelation at the end. There isn't even any hero/villain banter exchanged at the climax, they just start fighting. Despite the laziness of the story, it carries the levels sufficiently and provides ample incentive to continue.
The graphics are perfectly acceptable for an emulation of the cartoonish visual style presented in the film, however they are nothing special and the environments are a bit bland. The three worlds are building sites, sewers and cityscapes. It would have been refreshing not to have fallen into the trap of using the three most overused environments in gaming, especially when all the bland backgrounds contrast so starkly against the colourful characters (who themselves are fundamentally flawed as their mouths don't move when they speak which can make it difficult to follow who is saying what and to whom).
The platforming is fine, running along a linear path trying to reach the exit with waves of baddies along the way that need beating up or shooting. There are blue orbs called B.I.N.K.E.Y. that are picked up and are used as currency to upgrade the weapons used in combat and puzzles. Collectibles are present (in the form of loot that has been stolen in Megamind's former life of crime) but there is no incentive to collect them which defeats the object really. It does get slightly repetitive after a while but the boss battles make up for it by being fun, creative and grand in scale. However the camera is one element to the gameplay that could have been drastically improved. Unfortunately it cannot be moved and will often stay in an inconvenient location during a segment involving jumping from platform to building making it really difficult to judge where you will actually land, and in some cases whether you are even going in the right direction. Additionally there are moments where the game will slow down when there are too many enemies or pickups which can be extremely annoying. Another element which will get on people's nerves is the inclusion of a tutorial screen in the bottom left hand corner of the screen where a mech with a fish in a bowl for a head will spout off the same piece of advice over and over until it is done.
As you progress through the game you will unlock mini games which are pretty good fun for the most part. Particularly noteworthy ones include being in a giant mech and having to cause as much damage as possible before the time runs out. Another has you in a giant ball of energy and you have to go zorbing through a maze. There are also some generic forgettable mini games which have you climbing a building with sticky shoes, racing round a track in a futuristic ship and sitting in a cockpit shooting things that are flying towards you.
There is a multiplayer mode which lets a second player join in on all action however the computer will punish you for this by slowing the game down to the point that it is nigh unplayable. It feels like a last minute addition that has been tacked on and it's hard to shake off the impression that had they worked a bit harder on the multiplayer then the game could have been a lot better overall.
This is not a game that will stay with you for very long (especially as the entire game can be completed in less than 3 hours) but kids will love it and it will surely provide sufficient distraction for a few hours.
6 out of 10