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Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension
Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Disney Interactive
Developer: High Impact Games
Media: Blu-ray/1
Players: 1 - 2
Genre: Action/ Platformer

Graphics & Sound:
If anything, Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension understands what makes the show so popular among kids and parents. Although the game itself doesn't offer the same range of appeal as the show, it still gets a lot of things right.

It all starts with the writing and voicework. Both are excellent. It is hard not to laugh at the game's snappy, smart jokes and dialogue. It's the same sort of rapid-fire, sometimes subtle, delivery that makes the show great. The same sense of humor carries over into the visuals. Building on the dimension-hopping montage near the end of the movie, each level offers a different visual style. For instance, one level is made of balloons, while another looks like an old black-and-white cartoon.

Although older players will enjoy the game's smart, funny writing, Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is designed primarily for a younger set of players. As such, the game keeps things simple, though there's always something new going on, so it is sure to hold the attention of its audience.

Rather than follow one set play style, Across the 2nd Dimension jumps between styles. In one level, you'll travel through an on-rails portion and the next, you're in a straightforward platforming area. Each section is fun, at least until the lack of challenge sinks in, and manages to hold its own admirably. The rapid-fire gameplay change-ups are supported by a really inventive story. Rather than re-tell the movie's story, the game instead uses the main plot device - the Otherdimensionator - to push players through each section.

The PS3 version of the game also features four episodes of the show. Though not directly connected to the game's plot, they're a nice bonus.

Unfortunately, Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is outright crippled by its difficulty. It is hard to actually lose the game. Enemies pose little threat, thanks in part to a homing auto-lock for projectiles, and you're constantly tripping over health packs.

While this isn't uncommon to kid-friendly games, some at least add some sort of value and challenge by offering a robust number of unlockable items. Although you can unlock items, such as new characters, costumes and weapon customizations, they are tucked away in two incredibly bland mini-games. I would have preferred something more in-line with the LEGO games, especially considering the number of available characters. It would have been a nice fit.

Game Mechanics:
Although gameplay is almost constantly shifting styles, Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension manages to provide a solid experience throughout. Controls are, for the most part, solid and incredibly easy to learn. In-game actions may be different, but the control mechanisms are constant and crisp.

You're joined in each level by another character. Though the addition of a second human player decreases difficulty even further, two players are always better than one. If you can't find someone to play with, the A.I. does a good job of keeping up. Each character has their own unique abilities, so there are differences, though it isn't likely you'll notice them while playing. For example, Phineas regenerates health over time, yet there are health packs everywhere, negating the bonus to playing with the character.

Across the 2nd Dimension absolutely nails the show's gadget concept. You'll come across several gadgets in your dimension-jumping adventure, each with a set of upgrades. New parts are scattered in out-of-the-way portions of each level (making them one of the few reasons to replay completed levels) and can really add some punch to your weapons. Not that you really need them, but who doesn't like upgrades?

Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is an okay pick-up, though only for parents with really young kids who are fans of the show. Although the series has its older audience, the lack of difficulty is a deal-breaker.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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