Lord Darkar is an evil man. He likes to be in the company of other evil-doers, people like Icy, Darcy, Stormy, and the Army of Decay. They recently left the Cloud Tower School for Witches to join Lord Darkar (that's "darker" with two A's) in his quest to take over the world.
This most dreadful situation should not frighten you. Just as there are those who will always do evil, there are also those who will spend their lives trying to combat the villains who darken our sunny skies. Bloom, Flora, Stella, Musa, Tecna and Layla – known to many as the six members of Winx Club – are out to protect what we hold dear. The members have to, as the manual states, "juggle their school work and the fate of the universe, all the while looking fab."
They combat evil in the way that every fairy should: by using their powers to fly away from attacks, and by using their other, more magical powers to retaliate. In this respect the game could be compared to R-Type or any other side-scrolling shooter. Danny Phantom for the Game Boy Advance is another fair comparison.
One of two official screenshots. This one focuses on the action stages.
The shooter levels are short and easy, but only take up a small portion of the game. The rest is dedicated to mini-games:
Same as the shooter levels, minus the shooting. Your goal is to fly through the atmosphere, chasing a mysterious shadow until you reach the level's goal.
Tap any part of the screen to fire a blast from this stage's glowing core. The blasts are used to ward off bugs that are trying to eat your plant. You need the plant to continue growing – which it does automatically – to finish the level. To win, protect the plant until it grows into a star shape.
DDR without the dance pad. In other words, you're just tapping a screen to eliminate arrows as they pass by.
Draw lines back and forth to bounce a ball across the screen. The object is to bounce it toward the pixies that appear. Catch the required number of pixies before the time runs out and you win. Just be careful not to let the ball bounce off screen – if that happens you'll be forced to re-start.
More DDR-style gameplay without a dance mat or instrument controller. This one requires you to change virtual instruments (guitar, piano, drums, etc.) before you can hit the proper notes.
A ridiculously long and frustrating puzzle set that's anything but logical. Drag tiles with your stylus to form a connected pipe system to the goal. Once the pipes are linked, the energy is able to flow to the end. Tap the screen to eliminate bugs that, if left alone, will devour your pipeline.
The second official screenshot, also focusing on the action stages
(and looks almost identical to the previous image).
I can get on board with the shooter stages. They're short and much too easy, and don't really have that many enemies to combat. But the controls are at least functional, and where else can you find an R-Type-style game designed for kids? (Outside of Danny Phantom.)
What I can't get on board with are the mini-games. Had I been aware of their presence, I would have dreaded the thought of this game's release. But they were not the focus on Winx Club's promotion. The first batch of screens and E3 trailer focused on the side-scrolling action. Check the back of the box and you'll see the same thing: a screenshot of the action stages, along with four promo lines:
"Play as your favorite Winx."
"Design and trade custom outfits."
Notice that the mini-games are the last thing mentioned. They are also downplayed in the game description, which talks about making "new friends," testing your "magical abilities," and protecting "Magix from evil." It does not say a thing about the plethora of mini-games you have to endure to get to the action stages.
The mini-games are boring, unoriginal, and often cheap and frustrating. Adult gamers rarely have the patience for this sort of thing – do you believe kids will, by some chance, feel differently? No action stage, no matter how entertaining, is worth this kind of trouble.
Players might find a small amount of enjoyment in the fashion editor, which uses a Windows Paint-style program. But it’s not worth buying an entire game for.
Review Scoring Details for Winx Club: Quest for the Codex
What starts out as a promising adventure quickly evolves to a world of long and frustrating mini-games.
The action levels aren’t too awful, but the mini-games, which could’ve been packed with polys to off-set a tenth of the monotony, are devoid of any DS-specific effects.
Nothing so bad that you’ll plug your ears, but the audio is pretty dull.
Winx Club’s cheap mini-games have nothing to offer kid gamers. The puzzles are lame and frustrating, and the line-drawing missions are too long. You’ll be bored – regardless of your age – long before the credits roll.
I like the base idea: fairy-like warriors who can fly and have cool attack possibilities. But those levels are too short and too far between the rest of the game, which is nothing more than a series of terribly unproductive (and not at all entertaining) mini-games.
Do yourself a favor and forget this game has multiplayer capabilities. It’s not even worth thinking about.
Parents be warned. I know your Winx Club-loving children are going to want this game. Growing up I had to try every new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle game just because I loved the cartoon. I also played The Simpsons and Looney Toons games. When they were good, there was rarely anything better. TMNT Arcade goes down as one of the best action games of the era. But when these games were bad, it didn’t matter where the license came from – I always lost interest. Likewise, Winx Club fans are not going to want to invest much time in this game.