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Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa Wii Review

26/01/2009 Family Family Gamer Review
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Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa Nintendo Wii

Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa

Nintendo Wii


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Our guest review family the Pestridges take a run at Madagascar 2 and find it to be a lot of fun. Although it's worryingly the adults rather than the kids who are still playing by the end. Enter said family:

Wet family weekend in January - check. Two rather fidgety children - check. Dire need for entertainment - check. Sofas pushed to the corners of the lounge - check. Madasgar 2 on test - check!

We barreled into the game armed only with short attention spans and low skill levels, our six and three year old kids eager as ever to ignore any of the jiggling leafy menu options. The core of the action centres around completing a long list of tasks based closely on each step of their journey as per the film. Here's the crunch though - you HAVE to complete each task to get to the next. We'll come back to this, as it was a problem for us.

The game sure looks great, sounds just like the film, and is faithful in every sense. The characters are as cheeky as you'd want - and you'll enjoy playing as each of the different film characters at some point during the tasks. Each of the main characters have their own special moves that you get familiar with as you progress through the story.

There's two ways to play - as a story or picking individual games. These can be done as a quick play or a tournament. To be honest, as time-pressed parents we always opted for the quick play as we couldn't bring ourselves to hand-pick the games for the tournament.

Our two have been both elated and frustrated by Madagascar 2.

Our two have been both elated and frustrated by Madagascar 2. We were all transfixed by the cutesy film characters as they talk you through your instructions at the start of each task, and there's a real variety to each task, some viewed from top down (football in the jungle game) whilst others are faced from behind.

Some particular highlights were Sam (5) laughing hysterically at having to squash the suitcases shut with his hippos bottom - 'Butt Bouncing'! Also the dancing game is super fun. And Mia (3) shrieking whilst playing the diving mini game which is so simple she really had a sense she was playing it. Another 'hooray' from us was listening to the characters explain the games, great for our non-readers.

There's a great auto save feature so you aren't having to constantly check the children are saving as they go along. We've had a couple of glitches with the saving though, and we're still checking this now. The plus side to using both Nun-chuck and Wii (with our teacher brain on) must help brain development, as it is right and left brain actions together.

Frustrating moments do rear up though, and have thwarted the kids enjoyment. We continued to get stuck in Story mode, despite the helpful spoken clues when the game senses your lack of ability. If you can't complete the task, you're literally stuck there. We found some of them require real skill (ah-hem), and even Sam, our youthful but determined gamer would eventually give up needing a grown up to help him through to the next bit.

For our younger audience we wished it had been less 'button focused'.

The minus side to using both the controller and the Nun-chuck is that our kids aren't up to speed with this way of playing the Wii. They've grown accustomed to tilting and swinging. Trouble is that in-game it's a vital part of the mini-games as well as the navigation. So if yours are young, be aware there'll be a bit of 'hand-holding' required.

Overall it's an engaging and creative mini-game-style film adaptation. Addictive challenges for the grown ups abound, but for our younger players it's lost its novelty value after a piffling two weeks due to a succession of incompletable tasks. For our younger audience we wished it had been less 'button focused' and more classic Wii swing-it-around-ness about it. Verdict, a roaring mini game romp for the bigger kids ;-)

Written by Andy Robertson

You can support Andy by buying Madagascar 2: Escape 2 Africa

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Andy Robertson writes the Family Gamer column.

"Videogame reviews for the whole family, not just the kids. I dig out videogame experiences to intrigue and interest grownups and children. This is post-hardcore gaming where accessibility, emotion and storytelling are as important as realism, explosions and bravado."

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