|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: WayForward||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 5, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: EVERYONE||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Joseph Catalanotto
Nintendogs was one of the catalysts that really sparked the universal appeal of the Nintendo DS that has inherently led to its huge success. The concept was unique: Use the DS's touchscreen and microphone to care for and interact with your virtual puppy. Desire for increased revenue has naturally driven other developers to create similar games involving you, the player, performing everyday life chores and activities.
But perhaps the most outthere to date is Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys. Rather than being content to have the player, say, take care of a baby, developer WayForward has mixed this "real-life" gaming genre with the popular game and movie series Shrek. The result? Something that can only be referred to as strange. As you begin the game, very little backstory is given to you. There is reference that Shrek, the hulking green ogre (and protagonist) of the story, and Fiona, the lovely princess-turned-ogre-bride, have settled down and started a family. And while your identity is unknown, it seems that the responsibility has fallen to you to look after the kiddies.
But that's not all! Donkey and Dragon also seem to have started a family, and you'll have to look after their offspring -- called "dronkeys" in addition to the little ogres. In fact, the very first action the game has you complete is to select two babies to care for. From there, you'll receive a brief introduction to the game and begin your work as babysitter for your charges. Sadly, this game shows severe lack of creativity right off the bat. Rather than slapping on some appropriate names for the kids, you get only the names that the Shrek movie assigns them. This leaves the three potential ogre children nameless -- and the developers chose to go with "Boy Ogre," "Girl Ogre," and "Ogre Jr." And sadly, this sort of action really does set the pace for the entire game, and it's clear that the developers are with this project solely for the money.
Because when it comes to actual gameplay, Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys has very little to offer. In fact, if you've played such a title as Nintendogs, Ogres and Dronkeys will likely not be very entertaining for you at all. The game uses a hybrid of the touch screen as well as the DS's buttons, and essentially has you playing and interacting with the babies that you choose.
The interaction in this game though is pretty weak. Essentially, you've got to perform actions on-screen using the stylus; depending on how difficult the action is, your babies will receive points for emulating you. Once you complete an activity, you'll gain points, which can then be spent in a shop to buy more items, with which more actions can be performed. Actions are generally boring though, and while there's plenty of variety, the actions are ridiculously simple to the point that variety doesn't even matter. For example, one action to complete early on in the game involves getting one of your babies to stack two blocks. Tap one with the stylus, then slide it over on top of the other block. Do it a few times, and your baby will then do it. If this sounds boring to you well then, you're spot on. Because despite the minimal charm this game might have, and despite the decent graphics present in the game, the fact that Ogres and Dronkeys is just so darn boring overshadows any of the games positive aspects.