Arguably the most popular television show of all time, and one of the longest running to boot, The Simpsons is simply a popular culture phenomenon. Homer and his clan have been translated into hundreds of languages, seen across every continent and are surely some of the most recognizable “people” on the planet.
As the video game world is want to do, many versions of The Simpsons game have been developed in the past, but all have failed to live up to the standard set by the TV show. The good fellows at EA have seen this shortfall and spared no expense to bring you this The Simpsons Game, which manages to not only overcome the curse, but be a pretty decent game in its own right.
The post-modern plot of The Simpsons Game revolves around Bart finding the video game manual for The Simpsons Game and realizing that he, and the rest of the family, are indeed characters in their own game. This gives the Simpsons and EA the freedom to play around with the video game conventions – the much-beloved comic book guy derides video game clichés like smashing crates and double jumping – and provides the real motivation for the storyline.
The gameplay is relatively simple, two of the show’s lead characters go through a variety of themed levels (Super Happy Fun Fun Homer is a standout) and use their special powers to
navigate to each level’s logical conclusion. The special powers are character specific and relate back to the show in some way.
Homer can change into a giant fat ball of fat, Bart can fly
with his Bartman powers, Lisa is annoying, I mean uses a saxophone and Marge utilizes the power of her voice. The correct and judicious use of each power is crucial to getting both characters across the finish line.
And what a gorgeous finish line it is. The power of the next-gen systems have finally caught up to the ambition of the games creators. The world is vivid and sharp in almost every respect and the little touches, like Homer’s drool when he’s left alone for too long, are brilliant. This is an awesome recreation of the shows visuals, exploring Springfield and its environments is a wonder when you first load up the game.
It’s a shame that the rest of the game doesn’t quite reach the same level as the humour or the graphics. The levels do tend to be a little on the simplistic side when placed against the more mature titles in the genre. Although aimed at a family market, a little more depth and variety in the levels wouldn’t have gone amiss.
The Simpsons Game is reasonably also reasonably easy, with the only real difficulty in the game coming in the form of the camera. Despite being controllable, the camera is often stuck on objects or in views that doesn’t really assist in getting through the levels.
But The Simpsons Game is still, by far, the best Simpsons game yet seen. It also has to hold the honour of being the funniest game in existence, with the comedy never tiring, even when the camera might. With a well-known cast of hundreds, all voiced to perfection, The Simpsons Game is the next best thing to being a Simpson.