With its introduction in January 2004, Winx Club has broadcast in almost all the major countries including Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Italy and, of course, the United States. In the U.S., 4 Kids TV picked up the rights for the show on Fox Saturday mornings. Even with all the coverage, if you’ve never heard of the Winx Club, count yourself as one of the many.
The storyline is based on the adventures of six teen-age fairies that learn to use magic to protect the Realm of Magix from evil. Of course, there is a group villains they encounter throughout their journey to defend their home. One group, the Trix, is a trio of witch sisters that rival the six Winx fairies. Outside of the Trix, the other characters that need mentioning are the Specialists. The Specialists are made up of boys that often end up being the love life of the girls of the Winx Club.
Ok, got all that? Let’s talk about the game. Winx Club: Join the Club is the first Winx game on the PSP and the storyline is based on the second season of the show. The gameplay is made up of a collection of simple mini-games. The mini-games are your normal assortment of games – from racing games to testing your memory – it’s everything you should’ve come to expect by now.
What peeves me as a gamer is that the mini-game style gameplay shouldn’t have been the main focus for a game on the PSP. Let me make this clear - the PSP’s general audience is predominately male. So how does a game geared towards women and focuses on short mini-games relate towards that crowd that wants fast-paced action? In all reality, it doesn’t.
For fans of the series, they’ll be happy to hear that clips from the television show make their way into the game. If you aren’t a fan, you’ll have no idea what is going on because the clips have no relevance to what is going on in the game. I have to add that the clips aren’t anything special that make this a worthwhile purchase.
Anyway, moving on, after each mini-game, players can return to their dorm room to decorate it with accessories, trophies and pets that they have acquired, conveying their own sense of style to the room. Customizing the rooms of Alfea Dorm, where the Winx study their magic, is a nice addition but it isn’t enough to save this sinking ship.
For added replay value, there are a few unlockables, but truthfully, I’ve always found the replay value in unlocking items in video games very limited. Outside of that, players might find longevity in the form of customizing the Winx members with clothing. Yeah, that’s basically it when it comes to providing gamers a reason to play Winx: Join the Club.
The largest problem for the Winx Club has to be the long load times – they’ll last longer than the mini-games! If that was corrected, maybe I could have sat through the game longer than I did. Though, Konami did include one feature that fanatics will enjoy – the ability to trade items wirelessly. Players are able to trade items via local wireless connection to get accessories and outfits that will make their room or character look perfect.
With Winx Club: Join the Club, Konami is looking to attract a whole different audience than what dominates the PSP handheld. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best choice for girl gamers on the PSP. The only way this should ever find its way into your PSP is if you’re a die-hard fan.
|Review Scoring Details for Winx Club: Join the Club|
If mini-games are your thing, Winx has that alone to offer you. Granted, the mini-games are straightforward, but there’s a little fun to be had if you dig for it long enough.
The graphics are dull and boring. I expected more from a PSP game that has to compete against games looking like PS2 releases.
The music is nothing to write home about. The voices are mediocre at best, but the music is so darn bad, that I often turned down the volume to avoid hearing the dialogue.
The mini-games are a cinch to pick up and play.
I appreciate Konami trying to attract new gamers to the PSP, but Winx won’t win anyone over. It’s uninspiring and lackluster in style.
Avoiding Winx Club: Join the Club will save players their time, their money, their energy. This should only be attracting to the fans of the television series that devote every Saturday morning to watching the show.