Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)

Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys Review for the Nintendo DS (NDS)


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.

Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys screenshot

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.

Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys screenshot

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.

Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys screenshot

There are some things to do that don’t involve performing insultingly easy actions on the touchscreen. Even these performances though are just too boring to really be of any notice. For example, you can give your baby a bath; go to the bathing area, tap the tub to turn on the water, and monotonously rub the touch screen for 60 seconds or so until your baby is clean. Going outside is also an option, but as is the trend with the rest of this game, it’s neither exciting nor challenging. Again, you’ll perform basic, simplistic actions as you lead your babies around and “search for adventures.” Aside from offering a shift in locations, and thus slightly relieving the monotony of the game, these parts of the game do little to redeem the rest of the title.

Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys screenshot

It’s a shame that the gameplay is so poorly and unimaginatively done because there are some decent aspects to this game. For one, the control scheme is surprisingly intuitive. While it’s not particularly unique, I expected that the shoddiness in the gameplay would roll over to other aspects of the game; interestingly though, the controls are well-done. The touchscreen and buttons are blended perfectly. Overall though, this doesn’t do much; why does it matter that the controls are good if what you’re using them to control is terrible?

Another positive aspect of this game, yet one that’s overshadowed by the lack of quality in the game itself, is the graphics. It may be surprising that a licensed game that shows an overall lack of polish could sport good graphics, but it’s true. The game runs in an impressive 3D, and the game runs very smoothly. Environments can get a little clunky, but when compared to the actual gameplay aspect of this title, the graphics in Ogres and Dronkeys are probably its most redeeming quality.

When it comes to play value, this title is a tricky one to evaluate. On the one hand, it’s a title that’s similar to Animal Crossing or Nintendogs. That is, provided you stay engrossed in the game, it never runs out of game time; there’s always something to do. Of course, there’s a huge caveat there, and one that ends up destroying any replay value that Ogres and Dronkeys has: it’s got to keep your attention. As I’ve reiterated a countless number of times thus far, Ogres and Dronkeys is best described with the adjective “boring.” And as a result, despite the sandbox style of play that’s present in Ogres and Dronkeys, there’s just no reason to play it beyond a few hours.

While it does have a few redeeming qualities, Shrek: Ogres and Dronkeys is brought down by its unimaginative and poorly executed gameplay mechanic. There’s no real plot either, which is a shame. However, the potential for a great game was clearly present: the graphics and controls were surprisingly good, and the style of play (never-ending, sandbox-style) is conducive to a great, long-lasting game. Ultimately, while Ogres and Dronkeys only has one real flaw, that flaw ends up being huge. All you wannabe-virtual-parents…better go find your copy of Nitnendogs again.


  • Pick one of three adorable ogres or from one of the five playful dronkeys from the Shrek movies.
  • Teach them new skills to help them on their adventures
  • The more they learn, the more items you can buy- like fun toys, funny hats, masks, and more!
  • Use the stylus to care for your ogre and dronkey.
  • When they get hungry, feed them.
  • When they get dirty, brush their teeth and give them a bath.

    Not particularly incredible, but they stand out because they’re so good compared to the gameplay. 3.8 Control
    Like the graphics, these aren’t jaw-dropping, but they’re still solidly done. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
    While it’s not particularly bad, it doesn’t really add anything to the game and is very forgettable. 2.1

    Play Value
    There’s plenty of potential here; the problem is that the game itself is so boring that you’ll begin to severely regret ever buying this game.

    2.3 Overall Rating – Poor
    Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

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