By Adam Roche
Whilst it is nice to see the South Park characters now and then, these days they always seem to be accompanied by a looming question: “Who cares anymore?”
True, the show was groundbreaking in it’s time, and the movie remains a superb and genuinely funny experience to this day, but the show itself has seemed to be on an ever-declining trajectory in recent years, swapping it’s biting humour for shocks, and it’s fantastical plots for endless poo jokes.
So when a South Park game was announced at E3 2008, you could understand the outcry of “Meh…” that accompanied it. After all, the games we’ve had so far have hardly been classics, or even good uses of a popular license.
Unfortunately, ‘South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play!’ will do nothing to turn around the fortunes of this tired old dog. But why?
Well, whilst it’s nice to have a High Def South Park game, it would have been nice if it’d been carried on throughout the title. When you unlock video clips through play, they’re in crappy standard def that’s so bad it’s almost blurred.
Also, you’re able to not only build towers to defend the town against rampaging citizens, but also to take control of Cartman, Kenny, Stan, Kyle and Butters. However, your main job if you do assume control of one of them, is to hurl snowballs. Lots of them. In fact as the enemies start to become ever more prevalent in numbers, you find yourself… you got it… bashing buttons. Towers suddenly become a little irrelevant as you clumsily swap between the guys to get a better shot.
There’s a rather redundant ‘charged snowball’ that you’ll only use at the beginning of stages because it takes too long to charge, and each character has a special ability that you can call into play. Cartman can call on a hail of bombs to fall, Kenny can generate huge amounts of cash in order to build and upgrade towers. It’s a nice touch, but it takes an eternity to charge the ability up, and how do you charge it? Yes, you have to throw snowballs for a long, looooooooong time.
You’ll find yourself battling Ginger Kids, Hippies, Crab People and Demons with Baseball Pitchers, Lasers and Fireworks, past some of the more recognizable locations in South Park, such as Kyle’s house and the Elementary School, but it’s lack of imagination, and most crucially it’s lack of humour, means that it won’t be long before fatigue sets in. Yes, for all it’s faults, the one that sticks hardest in the throat is that it’s not funny at all. Sure, you’ll unlock some amusing clips from the show itself, and Trey Parker’s Japanese announcer will raise a smile here and there, but the fact that not even Cartman jumps into a rant as he pelts endless streams of Hippies with snow is a real disappointment.
‘South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play!’ will no doubt sell. It’ll just play better to die-hard fans of the show. Only the ones who still forgive the show’s shortcomings will be able to gloss over it’s many weaknesses.
‘South Park Let’s Go Tower Defense Play!’ is available now on Xbox Live Arcade for 800 MS Points