Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is a game based on the original Disney Channel movie that was inspired by the hit cartoon. The titular characters find themselves trapped in an alternate dimension after following the evil Dr. Doofenshmirtz through a portal created by a machine he calls an “Otherdimensionator.” There they find an even more evil version of Dr. D. and band together to make their escape. That’s where the game picks up.
Players will be able to control Phineas, Ferb, Agents P and T (Agent T was created specifically for this game), and Phineas and Ferb doppelgängers from the alternate dimension. 2nd Dimension is part old-school co-op shooter, and part platformer almost in the vein of the arcade version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It utilizes a very similar formula: go to an area, defeat “x” number of bad guys, pick up a few puzzle pieces in the name of progress, move on to the next area, rinse and repeat. Fans of the show will recognize the references to blueprints and mini “collect-a-part” missions scattered throughout the levels. You’ll also occasionally come across levels that play like slightly more light-hearted versions of Space Harrier, jetpack and all.
Each character has his or her own passive ability. Phineas has regenerative health, Ferb can take more damage, and so on. In addition, when playing in the Space Harrier-esque levels, players can work together to perform special attacks. It should be noted that there are always two characters on screen regardless of whether or not two people are actually playing. In some games this type of gameplay proves to be irritating, but in this instance the A.I. does a fairly good job of handling itself. I can’t remember a time when it got in the way at all. A player can also choose to switch back and forth between the two characters and, for the most part, I found that the transition was smooth.
Progressing through the levels was rarely a hard task, since the difficulty was designed for the younger age group that makes up the majority of the fan base. This isn’t a bad thing unto itself. I did, however, struggle to keep myself engaged during some of the later levels, where it seems the designers had either run short on fresh ideas or were running out of time. This wasn’t a problem throughout, though. Earlier areas, like the Balloon Dimension or the Old-Timey Dimension, were fun and imaginative, but I fought to stay interested later on.
It’s the same story with enemy variety. While early levels featured some interesting foes (SPOILER: you get to eat one of the bosses), the enemies from later levels hardly required much more than mashing the fire button. Again, this could be due to the fact that the game is catered toward younger players.
One interesting aspect of the gameplay is that all of the weapons are upgradable. Each of them also has slots for special boosters, some cosmetic and others practical. It seems a lot of attention was paid to making sure players were never bored with their options. Truthfully, however, I mostly stuck with the first weapon, the baseball launcher. I found it frustrating at times that there was no way to adjust the camera, though this fixed camera isn’t always a bad thing.
Visually, 2nd Dimension was neither extremely exciting nor very boring, save for the occasionally repetitive level design. For me, the Old-Timey Dimension stood out the most—I simply hadn’t expected it—but for the most part the art style mimicked that of the show fairly well. There were some occasional hiccups, but it ran smoothly most of the time. The audio was neither outstanding nor offensive, though it should be noted that the voice acting was handled quite well.
There’s quite a bit here to keep players coming back if they don’t collect everything on the first time through. Most of the levels have 5 special coins hidden throughout, and there’s also a choice of two minigame levels between each of the main levels. Players can either engage in a Perry the Platypus-themed game of skee ball or learn to master a sort of claw-machine game. Either game will reward players with tickets, which can be used to purchase various costumes and bonus characters. There’s actually a hefty amount of content here, so enthusiastic players will be able to keep themselves busy for a while.
Fans of the show who pick up a PlayStation 3 version of the game will also get four episodes of the television series on the Blu-ray disc as a bonus. The episodes themselves aren’t connected to the movie other than the fact that they’re from the same series, but it’s still a nice surprise for those who didn’t know they’d be included.
All things considered, this game isn’t for everyone. If you’ve been playing video games long enough to remember where some of the original ideas found in this game came from, chances are you’ll get bored with this title fairly quickly. If you have young children, though, you may find it enjoyable to spend some time with them playing co-op or watching a few episodes of Phineas &Ferb they haven’t seen yet.
There are some good ideas scattered throughout the game, but there isn’t really anything groundbreaking. That may be the game’s worst offense. It’s not that every game need be an object of excellence, but each should at least strive to be more than unremarkable. There are certainly interesting elements within, but they’re few and short lived. Perhaps given a bit more time or with a bit more effort this title could have been great instead of fair.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 3.2 Graphics
There were a few hiccups that I noticed but nothing major. The visual presentation was mixed. 4.2 Control
The controls were simple and easy to master. 3.1 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The audio was also a mixed bag. The voiceovers were fairly well done, if not for the occasional anomaly. 3.2 Play Value
There are a few things to keep younger players busy if they’re still interested when they finish. 3.4 Overall Rating – Fair
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|