Xbox 360 Review: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs

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Late in Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, you are tasked with clearing a giant cheeseburger from the roof of an office building. All the while, the workers in this complex are stating that burger is preventing them from doing their jobs, pleading with you to hurry. Since the item in question is on a roof, and the workers are on the open platform below with clear access to all doors and exits, how does this prevent them from working? They must be unionized.

Regardless, moving food around is what Flint Lockwood does best. Actually, it is about all he does through the six or so monotonous hours of this movie adaptation. Flint creates a machine that causes giant food to pour from the sky, and he must single handedly clean up the mess.

This brings up a number of questionable situations, including children stuck in piles of ice cream. Apparently in this over-protective town, parents prevent their kids from eating sugar. Otherwise, why would any average kid feel endangered when stuck inside a pile of frozen, sugary, flavored goodness? Isn’t that a dream of every five-year old on the planet (and even most adults)?

Flint continues his adventure, hacking, melting, poking, and spraying food in an effort to stop the tasty onslaught. Levels all feel alike, with same basic requirement of solving limited puzzles to advance, many of which exist to slow the player down and extend the game falsely.

Ice cream sandwiches require the chocolatey shell to be smashed, the ice cream melted, and the other shell on the opposite side to be shattered. These serve as doors blocking paths and yet never exist in a dangerous area. Simply smashing them down would not change the game in any way. Instead, the irritating task repeats with no added value to the title.

Enemies are few, mostly because the game lacks the imagination required to bring food to life. Granted, the evil gummi bears are devious and terrifying, with their fruity flavored licorice waddle and deadly headbutt. In actuality, a game where gummi bears are slaughtered by the thousands has potential. Someone call Koei.

Most of the challenge comes in two forms: objects falling the sky with limited warning, or hidden items that are only hidden because Meatballs offers no camera controls. The latter becomes a problem as the game increases the complexity of its levels, trapping the player in pits of spicy salsa, and the exit obscured by the viewpoint.

Drop in, drop out co-op play, with the second player controlling monkey, adds minimal value. That said, it does bring us nearer to the greatest game design of all time, that of a rabid monkey and his zombie sidekick slaughtering thousands of vicious DNA-altered gummi bears with a stack of bananas. Oh how close we are.

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