Next in line of cartoon movies finding their way onto PS2 for excited kids to experience gaming within a movie is Barnyard. A good area to explore and addictive mini games may see Barnyard through to your PS2 collection.
First off this is purely a one-player adventure game. Select a gender, name and appearance for your cow and off you trot. The general gist of the game is to help out fellow farm animals in difficult situations they face while collecting items and Gopher coins along the way. Also you have to achieve as many stars as possible by performing well in games. The more you accumulate, the higher you climb in the table to become Barnyard Champion.
Barnyard is primarily for young children ages about 3-11 and this is shown by the easy to navigate menu and the quite basic, and easy to master, controls. This is great for just picking up and firing away. Barnyard also has the ability to have you hooked for hours. There's a whole array of collectable items and many missions and games to try as well.
Along the way you collect `Gopher Coins' which are used to purchase new items at the Gopher shop. These include games and decorations for the night barn and new upgrades for your bike. Coins can be found in crates dotted around the map and also are earned if you're successful in a mission/game. Also collected on the way are new recipes to try out in the kitchen, when you have the right ingredients you can make the food and earn more coins.
The mini games in Barnyard I think are the highlight of the game. Playing golf and firing a bird out of a cannon are two of the many. They're really addictive and good to battle it out with your friends to try and get the highest score.
The game is quite humorous how the animals act like humans and walk around normally. Animals chat to each other and tell each other what's going on and it is overall a good-natured game. The game also includes all of the main characters from the film (Otis, Pig, Peck and Root) and they have the same appearance and personality as in the film.
Barnyard has a good expanse of land to explore and you are required to search it thoroughly in order to collect everything available. It would take a long time to walk from one side to the other so the inclusion of a bike is a welcome one. The scenery is detailed and looks quite slick when roaming around. The rest of the graphics are also pretty decent and the animals look quite good in the cut scenes (I wouldn't say realistic because the cows are still standing on two legs!).
There is a nice feature in that you can squirt milk out of your udders at enemies. Just pop on your sunglasses, aim and squirt. It's good fun running around after racoons and stopping them in their tracks by spraying them with milk. You can also fill empty milk canisters with your milk and churn it to make cream or butter.
There are a lot of little features such as this that make this game stand out from the usual batch of cartoon movie games. However there are some criticisms of the game. The story line is pretty much non-existent and there are very few cut scenes explaining what's going on. It is basically just going from mini game to mission carrying out similar sorts of tasks. Games such as this usually rely on a strong storyline like that of the film but in this case it is far from the case.
The sound effects are good and are fitting to the game although there is not a wide variety of music and there are only a few songs playing throughout that can get quite repetitive. Also I don't think that this is a game that will keep you coming back for more after completion because there isn't much you could do differently if you attempted it a second time round.
Overall Barnyard has a lot to offer and is very enjoyable. It lasts a long time and poses a challenge to younger gamers as well as being an enjoyable experience. I think that there is a lack of a good storyline and frequent cut scenes would have greatly improved the game. I would recommend it for children who are looking for a fun game that will give them a challenge however if you're looking for a game that is a mirror image of the film then you'll be disappointed.
7.5 out of 10