Reviewed: December 2, 2008
Released: November 4, 2008
Once again we follow the adventures of Alex, Marty, Gloria, and Melman in the sequel Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa for the Nintendo DS. Escape 2 Africa takes up where the original game and movie left off with our quartet taking a cargo plane back to the big city of New York. However, problems quickly ensue leaving the heroes still stranded in Africa and the plane in pieces.
Since I have not played any of the Madagascar games on any platform the chance to play Escape 2 Africa had me curious at least. Sadly, I have to say that I was less than thrilled with this particular game.
Escape 2 Africas’ gameplay is less then savory. As a whole, the story is good and the mini games are pretty fun, but the controls are horrible. The characters are constantly going in a different direction than the button you are pressing and the camera angles/movement will quickly become annoying. In fact it will probably become so annoying that you will turn the game off because there is absolutely no designated button to control the camera. While I find this very frustrating, others may be able to forgive this major faux paus.
Most of the gameplay consists of running across various environmental puzzles in traditional platform game style. The only real challenge here was figuring out which character to use for each obstacle, assuming you even had a choice. There are also various mini-games scattered about the game that you can play to earn tokens. This is about the only time you'll use the touch screen.
Outside the main game you have two spin-off modes, a strategy game featuring the mischievous penguins and four levels of puzzles, and Mort's Pinball, essentially a lame pinball game with bad table design and even worse physics.
Abysmal is the first word that comes to mind when it comes to graphics. Now I know that the DS does not have the best graphics, but I am pretty sure that the capabilities of the DS can do better than what Escape 2 Africa used. I found that the in-game graphics where very pixilated and that the cutscenes aren’t much better. The worst part is when any of the characters started to speak, the audio voice did not match up to the moving mouths of the person (animal) speaking. The voice actors would stop taking but the mouths would still be moving. Like I said abysmal.
I really liked the music in this game…for the first ten minutes. At that time I realized that the game soundtrack was a African beat that was played all throughout the first levels, without any real change. What I mean by that is that I could not tell the difference between the intro music playing in the background while you choose your save slot, from the music that played for the boss battle in the third level. On a good note the voice acting was not too bad, the characters actually kinda sound like their on screen counter parts.
All in all, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is not a game that I would recommend for the hardcore gamers. The gameplay is mediocre at best and the camera is far from acceptable. The graphics are choppy and the animation lags. Although the Escape 2 Africa lacks quality it can provided a minor distraction while on a lunch break or between classes.