Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Barnyard

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Rating: 4.0/5 (2 votes cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageLook about the Internet for Barnyard and you will generally come across two main facts; the film isn’t particularly good and most of the male cows, a large part of the cast, have udders. As you may know, male cows don’t have udders; they have horns, a fierce territorial nature and, although in-fact colour-blind, an assumed penchant for all things red. However, if the “bulls” in Barnyard didn’t have udders, they wouldn’t be able to don sunglasses and squirt racoons with milk all to the sound of George Thorogood and the Destroyers 80’s classic Bad To The Bone. Some people might say that’s worth the RRP right there, but given the history of THQ’s kids titles, caution is advised.

Barnyard is rather strange for a Film Licence, players do not play as a cast member,Electronic Theatre Image rather as a new arrival to the farm, a male or female cow of the player’s choosing. Also, instead of the traditional by-the-numbers Level Structure, it gives the players a fairly large semi-Free-Roaming area in which to partake in various Missions. Play is centred on the completion of various tasks for the other barnyard animals; some take the form of simple collection tasks, while others are more complicated, requiring the player to complete a Mini-Game to succeed. Possibly as a nod to the Animal Crossing series, there are also options for the player to furnish the Night Barn; a night club inhabited by the cast during the evening, through the collection and spending of Gopher Bucks, which are earned through the completion of Missions and found around the game world. The game features a Day-to-Night System, with certain Missions only available at certain times, however, rather than occur in real-time, the player must send their character to bed or wait for the change from one to the other.

Barnyard’s semi-open ended gameplay is a welcome change from the usual Film Licence mediocrity. Although the simple collection Missions will start to grate after a Electronic Theatre Imagewhile, most of the Mini-Games, such as Gopher Golf, Sharp Squirter and The Bicycle Race, are quite fun and fairly well crafted. With over twenty games available, Barnyard offers a good level of replay value for a Film Licence, and together with the fairly long story, is a good bet for keeping kids occupied for some time, especially so if they can hang-on and make it to 100% completion. In order to avoid the tedium of travel, which can take a while on foot given the size of the Map and the lack of stamina for sprinting, the player’s cow can ride a bicycle, as if a male cow with udders shooting racoons wasn’t weird enough!

Although, for the most part, Barnyard is a distinctly above average Film Licence, on-par with the recent Disney/Pixar: Cars, it does suffer from a range of issues synonymous with games hemmed-in by a Licence, most notably a lack of polish. Some Mini-Games, namely Barn Billiards and Joy Riding, seem tacked-on and feature several flaws. The title also seems to spend a little too much time loading, for instance, while accessing the Map. There are also a few issues with the control of the bicycle. However, these problems are nothing new to this type of game.

Visually, Barnyard was never going to compete with the likes of Resident Evil 4, but the colourful scenery and characters do justice to the source material. Unfortunately on occasion the animation, especially in the case of the bicycle, can be a little twitchy, but nothing too serious on the whole. The game is presented well, as Film Licences usually are, with a surprisingly informative Map that shows the player the location of Missions, Mini-Games and other useful information.

Sound is usually the strongest aspect of a Licensed game, but unfortunately this is not the case with Barnyard. The game recycles only a few songs from the movie which do start to annoy. There is also a dearth of voice-acting, with most characters only uttering a Electronic Theatre Imagesingle line. Given the nature of the game, as a title targeted at children, using text to explain Missions may result in the need for supervision of younger players.

Given its decent level of success, Barnyard should be commended for its attempt to break the mould of children’s Film Licences. Although the game has its flaws, these are similar to the problems of many games of its type, games that often don’t attempt anything more than a six-hour Platform game. For fans of the movie and for most children, there is nothing wrong with the purchase of Barnyard – and with the recent critical success of Disney/Pixar: Cars, maybe this is a sign of a turn-around for THQ’s children’s titles. However, for the seasoned gamer, Barnyard is simply nothing you haven’t seen before.









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