I’ve not written a video game review before here, but as I’ve been playing Phineas and Ferb: The Quest for Cool Stuff with my 4 year old son recently – I decided to do it.
Have you watched an episode of Phineas and Ferb? Good, because if not – stop reading and go do that right now. The show is excellent. The game feels like an episode of the show. On the one plot we have Phineas and Ferb deciding to gather stuff in order to create their own museum of “cool stuff.” Candace is trying to bust them, in the background. On the second plot is Agent P trying to stop Dr. Doofenshmirtz from trying to take over the TriState Area with his “Cool Stuff-inator.” It’s a simple plot, but fun.
The music is classic Phineas and Ferb fair. They use tracks from episodes including the theme song, “Hey Ferb,” and the Agent P song. It’s good, but the music is always good on Phineas and Ferb.
I played the Wii version and the graphics looked a lot like Viewtiful Joe. For a game based on a children’s cartoon, it works. It’s cell shaded, 2.5D in appearance. Again, for a Phineas and Ferb based game – it works well.
Here’s where we’ll talk about the nitty gritty. The game is a platformer and a relatively simple one. The gameplay on the Wii uses the traditional Wii-mote sideways akin to New Super Bros. In most levels, you find yourself jumping from platform to platform collecting “cool stuff” in treasure chests. In the regular levels, there are no lives. If you die, you go back to the local save point and continue in the level. For younger players, this makes it a much easier game to play. As I mentioned before, I’ve been playing this with my 4 year old son. This respawn point in the level with no lives makes it a lot easier and more fun for him to play. As a parent, this is a good thing. There was some difficulty for my son, but many levels he was able to play by himself. The Perry levels play exactly like the Phineas and Ferb levels except a) you’re Agent P, b) you’re collecting lawn gnomes, and c) there are more dangers. Overall, though, the Perry levels are still relatively easy. There are some moving platforms toward the latter Perry levels which were a challenging for my 4 year old son.
There are two other types of gameplay – swimming levels and building levels. The swimming levels are fully underwater where you are controlling the characters inside their robot with the D-pad. These levels are rather simple to control, but filled with nooks and crannies to find hidden treasures. The building levels I found had the highest difficulty. They are timed and you need to collect a number of sprockets / memory chips. These were too difficult for my 4 year old to complete himself. They needed to be completed in less than 45 seconds (on average) and the platforming was confined / difficult. As I mentioned before, this was the most difficult set of levels in the game. That said, they are few and in between significantly easier levels.
Replayability comes in trying to find all the treasure chests and hidden Ducky Momos in each level. The Ducky Momos give you bonus points (sprockets) at the end of each level. My kids loved finding them hidden in the level and they’re relatively easy to find at least one per level.
In addition to the regular levels, there are missions from Baljeet, Isabella, and Buford. Baljeet and Isabella want you to find hidden treasures in these oversized treasure boxes. They’re fun when you find them and add some intrigue to your museum. Buford sends you back to earlier levels only he’s timing you. Generally, it’s pretty easy to beat in the time he’s asking – but, it does add a bit of replayability to these levels.
If you are a parent with a young child who likes Phineas and Ferb, I’d recommend it. It’s fun, straightforward, and with easy controls. It’s relatively cheap ($20 or less for XBox 360, Wii or Wii U). If you are looking for a significant platforming challenge, this isn’t your game. But if you want 4-5 hours (for an adult) of silly fun platforming for a pretty low price, it’s worth it. I’d recommend it highly.