The Smurfs for the DS is published by Ubisoft Entertainment. In the Smurfs you will be able to play a series of fun mini games and read along stories about the Smurfs as they prepare for the moon festival in their village and are disrupted by Gargamel. Those of you gamers who are familiar with the Smurfs will know that Gargamel is known as the Smurfs one and only enemy. At first sight most of you will be put off buying this game by comparing it to other Smurfs games that have been released previously, but don’t let the past have an outcome on the future. The Smurfs DS game is highly entertaining for children of all ages. It can also be seen as entertaining for some adolescents too if given the right opportunity. Ubisoft are popular for publishing games such as Dogz in November 2006 and Dogz 2 in November 2007 for the Nintendo DS. Ubisoft are among the most popular game publishers and are known by gamers for all formats available from the DS to the PS3.
The Smurfs game controls are set up to only require the use of the stylus and the touch screen as it is played through the dual screen feature. When you start the game on the main menu you will have three options to choose from, these are Mini games, Picture Book and Smurf Collection.
The first option available consists of seven different mini games, these are as follows;
• Smurf Colouring – A game which you have numerous options of pictures that you can colour in. The picture, once chosen, will appear uncoloured on the touch screen and the same picture fully coloured will appear on the other screen. The aim is to copy the completed picture by filling in the colours on the touch screen. This is a pretty simple task to complete.
• Cake Decorating – This mini game is different to the colouring game, it is a freestyle game and is entirely your choice how you decorate the cake. When decorating the cake you have the option to add a personal message and also using candles to decorate it, if you do choose to use a candle try blowing through your microphone when viewing the finished piece.
• Smurfette Dress Up – Where you will be taken to Smurfette’s wardrobe and can choose your favourite outfit for her to wear or you can customise her current outfit from the choice of hats, dresses and shoes.
• Match the Smurf – During this there will be a Smurf appearing on the left hand side screen and your task is to select the matching Smurf on the touch screen. This game runs on a time limit and the more matches you can get during this time the better chance you have at gaining a statue trophy for your Smurf collection.
• Smurf Band – A game where you are required to memorise and replay the instruments as they appear and keep in tune. There are three difficulty levels to this; if you usually struggle when playing memory games then the recommended difficulty would be easy, as this does help you a lot by showing you every instrument when you should be trying to remember yourself. If you should choose the difficulty level, you will notice that it is pretty much the same as the easy level except that some of the instruments will come up as a question mark (?) for you to test your memory. The expert level is a bit more difficult as this shows you all the instruments as a question mark (?) and you will you need to remember them.
• Smurf-Hop – For this game you will need to have your full attention on the touch screen and watch as the Smurf comes down the screen and bounces on a canopy. You are required to touch the screen at the right time in order to bounce the Smurf high into the sky and catch apples; these you will see on the left hand screen. Whilst your Smurf is in the air if you slide your stylus across the touch screen he jumps again in mid-air, you can do this up to three times to fly higher to catch more apples. Keep an eye out for newspapers that come flying at you, these will disrupt your concentration and ultimately put you off your game play.
• Find the Smurf – Unlike the other mini games, this is not a game which you can choose to play from the menu. This game is played at the end of every game; this game is used to select which Smurf figurine you want to add to your collection. There will always be three Smurfs to choose from, they will each be put into a barrel then shuffled and you then have to choose one. The old cup and ball trick where you need to locate the figurine you want.
Through playing the mini games you will notice there are flowers that will appear on the left hand screen in the top right corner. The maximum amount of flowers that can appear at any one time is 3. This seems to be some sort of scoring system which is only required for certain mini games. Although this is seen as a scoring system the reward is always the same, you will gain a Smurf figurine to add to your collection even if you only gain 1 flower.
The second option on the main menu is Picture Book, in this option you can read the story line of the game from the beginning (if you have already started to and did not finish the story you can continue from where you left off). On the story page there will be 5 symbols around the corners of the screen; these are your options. They enable the player to turn to the next page, turn to the previous page, retry (which resets the page), exit and a symbol to toggle the voice and music on and off. During the story reading there will be certain pages which will have a story branching option, this will give you two icons to choose from and these will each have a different story line to follow. You will also find that certain pages will have mini games in which you can play though out the story. These will appear on the page as Characters outlined by a blinking line, to play these mini games all you have to do is click on the character of your choice and you will be taken to the mini game connected to that character.
You will notice that when you select to play the mini games option from the main menu that there will be spaces available with a question mark on them. These are options that can be unlocked by playing the mini games through the story mode. When unlocking these they will not only add more options in the mini game mode but also add more variety to the game play too.
The third option on the main menu is Smurf Collection; this option allows you to view all the figurines you have collected through playing the mini games. Whilst viewing your collection you can rotate the Smurfs, rearrange them into the order you want them to be displayed and also zoom in on a specific figurine to see the fine details.
The graphics during game play are very simplistic and suitable for the games genre. It is also ideal for the games target audience; unlike adults children are less likely to truly appreciate extreme and realistic graphics.
The audio of the game can be seen as extremely catchy and repetitive as after only a short time of playing you will not be able to get the Smurfs theme tune out of your head and possibly find yourself humming the tune without even realising it.
Overall The Smurfs is an ideal game for children and possibly young adolescents. The game play is basic and easy for advanced gamers who live for the thrill of new challenges on the horizon. It is a very fun and entertaining game to those who are interested in this genre of games.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.