‘Tis the season for animated family-blockbusters, and THQ is pumping out movie tie-ins to accompany the release of Megamind. Does Mega Team Unite offer something fans of the CG flick can sink their teeth into, or this merely a wannabe hero in disguise?
Megamind: Mega Team Unite (MTU) does offer a story mode playable for up to four players, but don’t expect a true adventure. MTU is a mini-game package loosely tied to a story based upon the movie. There are some elements of the game that are commendable, but on the whole, this is a title that grossly falls short of entertaining.
The game is broken up into two main components: Story and Battle. Both gameplay offerings, however, are essentially the same, right down to the cutscenes that introduce each mode. In story mode, gameplay is divided into chapters comprised of several modes, which are unlocked for replay after initial completion. There is some paper-thin story filler that segues one challenge to the next, but the game is transparently by-the-numbers. There’s little inspiration under the hood here and little care given over to the execution of the actual gameplay.
For play, you’ll use both the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and to the game’s credit, the controls feel good and make sense. You can melee attack with the A button, aim your long-ranged attack with the pointer and press B to shoot, and jumping is mapped to the Z button. There is a bit of waggle tossed in here and there, but thankfully, it’s only an occasional element of play that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
Though MTU has some fundamental gameplay elements planted on solid ground, the meat and potatoes of the experience are a sad affair. MTU is, for all intents and purposes, a chaotic brawler rationed out in mini-game portions. You’ll rip through a series of similar challenges, sit through a cookie-cutter cutscene, and then move on to the next round of mind-numbingly insulting cage matches. Destructible elements are mildly satisfying, but the repetition and lack of imagination that make up MTU is inexcusable.
In a given challenge, you may be tasked with taking on a wave of bumbling foes, with each player earning points for damage doled out. Whether you’re competing against buddies or CPU partners, your goal is to earn a gold medal at the end of each chapter. It’s an interesting novelty that would have perhaps made a nice addition to a bigger adventure, but as the main focus the formula in MTU adds up to a sore value.
Shooting segments are a tad more entertaining, but hit detection can often be dubious. Again, the pointer functionality feels good, and it’s fun to whittle away at buildings and other structures. Dying because you can’t hit a health power-up your reticule is directly aimed over, though, is definitely frustrating. Additionally, the charge feature for long-ranged attacks is hit-and-miss â€“ sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t; it’s a crapshoot and not worth the wasted time.
In addition to your regular arsenal of attacks, you’ll occasionally find power-ups littered on the battlefield. Since the game offers no instruction on their use, power-ups, too, are a guessing game left to the player to figure out. The standard fare is accounted for though â€“ shields, damage boosts, etc.
The Battle mode is almost a carbon copy of the story mode, as you’re getting the same gameplay modes and features as before. Since you can play with the same amount of players in story mode, there seems little purpose for the Battle mode. There are no online multiplayer features or achievements, and the extras are typical throwaways packed in with most movie-based games.
What bothers me most about MTU is that it doesn’t even try to be entertaining. It takes all of the worst characteristics of movie-based games and combines them to form one terrible money grab that cares little for the end user.
That, of course, carries right on over to the game’s production values. Like the controls, the visuals and audio presentation are solid, but the graphics are a generation old at best â€“ low-poly, low-budget, and chock-full of “ship it in time for the movie release!” The framerate holds up fine for the most part, and the animations get the job done; outside of that, MTU lacks any ambition whatsoever.
The voice work, on the other hand, is respectable, though the dialogue is pretty run-of-the-mill. That’s likely a fault of the movie-script writers, but there’s nothing here that’s outright abhorrent. The story just doesn’t inspire, and if you’re contemplating picking this title up to extend your experience of the animated film, MTU likely won’t satisfy. The music is standard fare, and the sound effects are forgettable.
Megamind: Mega Team Unite is a bad game â€“ that’s all there is to it, really. I’m a pretty forgiving gamer, and generally speaking, repetition isn’t an instant turn-off for me (I enjoy the occasion session of Dynasty Warriors). It all comes down to fun factor, though, and Mega Team Unite has almost none of that. Yes, the controls mostly work and feel good. It’s when the challenges begin, repeat, and never end that the good times fly right out the window.
Were THQ to publish this as a downloadable title for $15 or less, I’d still issue a warning against making the purchase. As a $40 retail product, MTU is absolutely a no-go for me. The visuals are laughably low-rent, and the presentation is unnecessary and drab. Instead of wasting time on this uninspired mess, treat yourself to the big bucket of popcorn when going out to see Megamind on the “big screen.” Or better yet, save up those nuts and berries for the inevitable DVD release.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.9 Graphics
Barely good enough seemed good enough for THQ with this one. 3.0 Control
The controls feel good, and the pointer functionality is satisfying when it comes to shooting. Mash, mash, along with poor hit detection, however, make this a game that isn’t actually much fun to play. 3.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Not great, but not bad. The voice work is well-delivered, but the lines are trite. The sound effects and music get the job done without inspiring much excitement. 2.0
There’s only a handful of chapters, and the gameplay is repetitive and uninspired. The few solid elements presented here are appreciated, but they don’t come close to adding up to a fun gameplay package.
2.3 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.