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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Strategy

 

Publisher

Namco Bandai

 

Developer

Namco Bandai

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

May 26, 2009

 

 

- Cute, wacky story
- Simple, accessible gameplay
- Promotes healthy eating

 

 

- Gets repetitive quickly
- Easy difficulty
- Also promotes gluttony

 

 

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The Munchables

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

The Katamari Damacy series has proven that gamers can be hooked in by quirky, bizarre gameplay. Likewise, the Pokemon series has proven that gamers can be hooked by cute things. Two different tastes, but how do they taste together? Namco Bandai seeks to answer that question with The Munchables.

This editor would like to apologize in advance for the number of food puns to follow.

 

the munchables          the munchables

 

The story of The Munchables takes place in the planet of Star Ving (their pun, not mine), where the Munchables live peacefully along with their elder and the legendary orbs. One day, alien invaders known as the Tabemon invade Star Ving and steal the legendary orbs. Things look dire for the peaceful Munchables until the

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aliens step out of their death ships; conveniently resembling living vegetables and fruit, the invading Tabemon become the prey of the constantly hungry Munchables, who are tasked by their elder to retrieve the stolen orbs while eating the Tabemon into extinction.

 

Clearly, this story was made for kids in mind, but adults may

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appreciate the ironic humor as well as take notice how the legendary orbs resemble a mountain of sparkling poop. The main Munchables, Chomper and Munchy, are quite cute in their designs, especially when theyíre drooling at the prospect of more food to eat, and the Tabemon come in different, often bizarre varieties of food, from bananas in speedos to eggplants wearing sunglasses. The onion-shaped Elder is the most memorable character, dressed in what appears to be cardboard clouds and often running his mouth like Katamariís King of All Cosmos, though his ramblings arenít quite as memorable. At the very least, the game promotes the message about eating vegetables and fruits to grow big and strong, as the Munchables do.

 

the munchables          the munchables

 

As for gameplay, players begin the adventure taking control of one of the two Munchables, navigating different areas that consist of two levels and one boss encounter. The goal, simply enough, is to eat a certain amount of enemies and/or eating the main pirate leader. Even if the main goal is discovered right away, your Munchable wonít be able to consume the enemy as a result of his high level. In order to build up your Munchableís size (both body and mouth), you must eat as many of the lower level aliens in order to level up. When encountering a higher-level enemy, however, players can give it a single attack, which will cause the enemy to break into smaller, lower-level creatures to consume. Leveling up causes your Munchable to grow in size, often to the point that the levelís roads and crosswalks become mere stepping stones to hop over, but the physical change is cosmetic at best. Despite some extra power-ups in each level that allow for faster consumption of the Tabemon pirates, with only one attack and only one minor use of the Wiimote (flick it to jump), this dish may become stale before you finish your first helping.

 

The aesthetics help add some dressing to the game; the visuals are cute and colorful, measuring up to the Wiiís standard capabilities, while the music is bizarrely catchy, offering strange vocals that gamers wonít be able to get out of their heads. Extras include some additional Munchables to play as, each controlling slightly differently from one another, and collecting all of the hidden acorns in each level unlock accessories that you can deck out your little Munchable in. Unfortunately, they can only wear one accessory at a time, crushing the hopes of adding a ponytail, 3D glasses, and a native headdress all at once to their carnivorous creature. Eating enemies also result in orbs, and the more orbs you collect, the higher your rank. Itís worth devouring as many enemies per level as you can, both for the S rank as well as watching your Munchable delightfully poop out a mountainís worth of orbs (seriously). Donít expect much of a challenge, however, as the majority of enemies tend to run away or just stand idly by, only attacking when your Munchable makes a failed attempt to eat a high-level creature. There are also certain traps such as explosive bombs that will give your Munchable more than a little tummy ache, but death will rarely come by, if at all.

 

While The Munchables may not be the most memorable meal on the block, itís still a sufficient dish that can be enjoyed by kids as well as older gamers with stricter tastes.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(August 7, 2009)

 

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