reviews\ Dec 27, 2004 at 7:00 pm

The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius: Attack of the Twonkies - GC - Review

Live a typical day in the life of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, as he tackles saving Earth and returning stranded aliens, all before lunch time.

Jimmy Neutron, the genius kid inventor who makes nerdiness look cool, is back again in yet another console adventure. This time, he inadvertently unleashes a horde of Twonkies (little aliens who look like mutant Tribbles from Star Trek), when he visits the comet Twonkus-3. Once on earth, they begin to morph into not-so-nice critters when they listen to music. Jimmy must use all his wits, and lots of crazy inventions, to save Earth.

The game begins with an easy tutorial level that teaches all the basic controls and moves. Jimmy really only has one move, a jump. The gameplay is mostly based on finding and collecting invention parts, while capturing the various types of Twonkies running around. The inventions serve to advance the game, which is very linear. The parts are very easy to find, as they are lying around in the open and glow.

The inventions are the coolest part of the game, and resemble a simplified RPG upgrade system. A gadget called an Inventorface automatically sorts collected gadgets into slots for Gizmos, Inventions, Super Inventions and Blueprints. These items show up in slots for each category, and can be combined into inventions. The guesswork as to when each invention needs to be invented is taken out of the equation, as a flashing icon will light up momentarily when an invention can be made and utilized. Jimmy will also utter helpful statements about which object he's thinking of using, and for what purpose.

Each level features either an environmental puzzle that must be figured out, or a boss that has to be defeated. Jimmy will use his inventions to get past obstacles and beat the bosses. For instance, early on in the game, Jimmy has to use magnetic shoes to stick to the space station and keep from flying off into space. The shoes' power are limited, and Jimmy must hurry before the magnetic force runs out. Later, Jimmy will use an Energy Puck Launcher that he has created with a trumpet, slingshot and hockey puck to beat a boss by shooting it at him.

While most of the gameplay is straightforward, some of the environment-based puzzles are tricky, and require some thought as to the action needed. Kids may require a parent's help for some of these. Also, while there is a task list, it's not always that helpful in directing players as to what needs to be done next.

There are mini-games scattered around, mostly of the arcade variety. After they are played, they are unlocked and can be accessed via the main menu. They are fun, but are pretty easy to beat. Mostly they involve dodging moving objects in a type of race. For a change of pace, there is a fun arcade game room area where Jimmy has to collect tokens, later in the game.

The game looks pretty good on the GameCube, but most of the locations are dark, even the ones outside. The characters are the best looking items around, and are drawn very nicely. The background items are less clearly delineated, but kids won't care much about that. The Twonkies look cool, and all the cutscenes are of movie quality.

The music is much what you would expect from this type of game, a techno kind of beat that will be annoying to parents, but attractive to kids. Sound effects are minimal.

This is a surprisingly fun game that is mostly easy to play. The designers have done an excellent job of staying with their target audience of young children, with easy gameplay that centers on collecting items that are clearly visible and just lying around for the most part, and capturing the Twonkies, which is a little harder, but still fairly easy. Jimmy can die, but save checkpoints are numerous, so he never has to redo too much of the level. The non-violent nature of the game (the Twonkies are captured, not killed) is also a big plus for many parents.

The only real drawback to this game is that it is short, and doesn't include much variety. There are mini-games, but they are pretty similar to each other. The lack of direction in some areas may stump some kids, however, hopefully mom and dad can help them out. The positive aspects are that it is fun, not too hard, and features some funny comments, plus a handful of silly gadgets that kids will love to try out on Jimmy.

Jimmy Neutron: Attack of the Twonkies is a good choice for families with young gamers, and is made even more attractive by the relatively low price of $20, when compared to other games that cost around $45.

Gameplay: 7
This game is a fun romp for the younger set, but could have featured more variety for return gameplay.

Graphics: 7
The game looks nice and kids will especially enjoy the cartoony appearance, but isn't anything spectacular.

Sound: 6
The music is ok, but could be annoying to parents. There aren't many sound effects.

Difficulty: Easy
This is an easy game, which is how it should be, as it's designed for children.

Concept: 7
Wow, a kid's game that's actually designed for kids.

Overall: 7
A fun, easy romp through Jimmy Neutron's wacky world. While not as engaging as Spyro: A Hero's Tail, or as challenging as SpongeBob: The Battle for Bikini Bottom, it still offers a neat gaming experience for young kids, who will enjoy the feeling of success, instead of the all-too-often sense of frustration as they attempt to play games that are too difficult.


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