Reviewed: June 14, 2007
Released: May 7, 2007
I have never heard of the Winx Club until this review and I've never seen a game with such long load times or simplistic design as Winx Club: Join the Club, a game based on a cartoon targeted at tween aged girls.
Winx Club: Join the Club from Konami is supposed to entertain young girls by completing simple mini games to collect four Codex pieces. Their old foes, the witches, are back to thwart them along with a new foe, Lord Drakar. The Winx, or fairies, from the cartoon are all selectable with various attacks unique to each but the game is just too simplistic, even for the youngest girl gamers.
One thing I will start with is your child better watch TV or read their email while playing this game as it takes as long to load each scene, game, or area as it does to play. For instance when you turn on your PSP you choose the UMD game and it loads a start screen. After that load you have to load your save game, then load the area you want to go to. Load times average over a minute for any section or area.
The mini games you get to play have two flavors to them and are basically the same except for the graphics and some small differences. The games are either memory puzzles or platform races where you dodge moving and stationary objects. There are four Hubs with several doors leading to the mini games in each but three hubs are locked at the start of the game.
Completing mini games not only unlocks the new mini games but eventually unlock the other Hubs as well as the silly items. Items will be things like clothes or objects for your dorm room but Iíll get into that later. The mini games are very unoriginal with several memory games where they display objects or people and you have to remember things about them. Then to win you have to pick the correct person or objects or placement of objects to win the mini game.
The races are simple games where your character runs, slides or otherwise propels along a course avoiding stationary objects or things tossed in their way. Some of them will have your arch rival and antagonist Drakar or his henchwomen witches casting spells or otherwise trying to ruin your race. The races are very simple and not very engaging in this modern age of high tech games.
The gameplay in Winx Club: Join the Club is rather boring and with the long load times is definitely not interesting to me, but then again, I'm an adult. Even so, I canít imagine a kid, 6-11 with a short attention span sitting still for this game for very long, even if a few of the races and memory games can be a little challenging.
Winx Club: Join the Club flaunts a silly notion that all girls like fashion and decorating by including the dorms section. You can go to the dorm and check out each Winx and their statistics as well as participate in several mini games. In some games you can check out the new clothes unlocked by completing mini games or match the characters to their pose silhouettes.
I canít even imagine where they came up with decorating the dorm room using items you unlock in the mini games. There are a few of the mini games that are fairly good like the garden where you have to take care of the plants using the included instructions. The games are both too simplistic and rather childish even for a six year old as well as very repetitive so much that keeping the interest of a young person would be difficult.
There is also a multiplayer section that you can play with or against up to three others if you can find anyone that has this game for the PSP. Your child can also swap clothes with others wirelessly in the multiplayer mode.
The graphics are fair for the Winx Club but they were not very detailed or original. There are two distinct styles in the graphics; the cartoons and the game graphics for the mini games. There are some cutscenes that are straight cartoon clips from the show to help introduce each mini game.
The mini games graphics are almost as good but have the same regular look to them of many older computer games. The races have you running along a slightly changing ground dotted with stationary objects and some moving ones that are very simplistic. The memory games have some moving parts to them to give the impression of some magical happenings or just to keep the screen busy and the game doing something.
The voice acting and music for the Winx Club was pretty good and about the only saving grace of this PSP game. The voice acting seemed to be straight from the cartoon while the music is very similar to several pop songs I have heard.
The voice acting for the game instructions and other parts that are definitely created for the Winx Club game are pretty good and throughout the game you get instructions for each mini game and then thankfully a warning when the game is done loading so you know to press start.
The music has some very catchy songs that sound professionally recorded. They are all from Cherry Lane Music Publishing and 4Kids Entertainment created for the game or cartoon.
There is little to speak of that is positive for the Winx Club: Join the Club. The game is very repetitive but the thing that really amazes me is that this game is targeted for little girls from 6 to 11 years of age. If you want your little girl to play a game that is wholesome and fun then have them play something like Lumines II, at least theyíll work on hand eye coordination and reflexes.
Winx will likely lose what little charm it might possess long before a typical rental period is over, and is probably on the fast track to the bargain bin, so if your pleading child must have a copy, wait for the price to drop.
Unless your young child is really into the Winx Club I would stay away from this game. The game is targeted toward youth and is not exactly the most interesting of platformers. The memory games are fairly decent but getting to them will tax your patience not to mention that of a ten year old.
Winx Club: Join the Club is a bad game and really not worth your time to look at much less subject your child to.