I won’t lie – Garfield’s Wild Ride is NOT the worst game I’ve played. However, it may be one of the worst uses of a licence I’ve ever seen in video games to date. Seriously – the concept of the game makes such little sense the developers had to justify it by making it all a dream. Among all the vanilla elements of gameplay there is some nice polish and presentation ensuring Garfield’s Wild Ride isn’t a complete waste of time and should keep Garfield fanatics happy, but other than that it’s just another mindless endless runner. The saddest part is that Garfield’s Wild Ride is a game that is made really well and showcases great talent behind the developer – it’s just overshadowed by the overwhelming generic gameplay and poor use of licensing.
Audio & Visual
Let’s start on a positive note shall we? Garfield looks wonderful. Filled with color and smooth artwork, visuals are true to the show Garfield and Friends. Animations however are a mixed bag as while it is mostly good, Garfield shifting from his running and falling animations to his flying animations do seem a little clunky. The game also encourages you to spend your hard earned coins to buy outfits for Garfield that have no effect on gameplay and pretty much are irrelevant to the character. He’s an anthropomorphic cat known for not wearing clothes. Why should anyone pay 5000 coins to give him pants and make him less true to the source material? Audio on the other hand is pretty much flawless, with multiple background tracks that cycle through every time you play to keep the stale gameplay feeling fresh. They’re mixed in stereo as well so with earphones you get a more enhanced audio experience. With plenty of polish, the representation of both audio and visual should be applauded. Unfortunately, it’s mostly downhill from here…
First of all – why the hell is Garfield in an endless running game? He’s meant to be a FAT and LAZY cat. So why the heck is he running? It’s totally out of character and evidence that the developing team probably aren’t very familar with the franchise. Of coarse, they justify this with the fact that he’s actually having a dream…but let’s face it that’s just poor storytelling. As for the gameplay, have you played the insanely popular Jetpack Joyride? Yes? Great! Slap a Garfield skin on that and make it less ambitious and we’re done here. Literally the ONLY differences I could find throughout the entire game is that there are other unlockable levels (which are pricy so save up those coins) and occasional Wheel Of Fortune type luck-based bonuses. That’s it. For those who haven’t played Jetpack Joyride, firstly, hate yourself because you’ve missed out on one of the greatest and most successful Australian mobile video game releases ever. And secondly, it’s a simple side scrolling endless runner with one-touch controls that let’s you hover to dodge obstacles and collect coins & power ups, etc. On top of that it encourages players to buy power ups by collecting coins or spending real life cash. Missions are available that reward you with lots of coins. You get the idea. Garfield’s Wild Ride is a simple clone of Jetpack Joyride with little to no originality thrown into the gameplay at all. That being said, it’s actually been done very well. It’s just that if you’ve played a game like that everything in Garfield’s Wild Ride becomes amazingly bland as it simply has nothing more to offer. It seems that the developers here took a lot of inspiration from the lazy fat cat by deciding to follow suit by putting in minimum effort and being as lazy as possible. Perhaps if Garfield was running in a Temple Run clone it’d make more sense, but making him fly just seems out of character even if it is a dream. Perhaps the nicest way to put it is that Garfield’s Wild Ride would be a great gateway game to Endless Runners for Garfield fans.
I should clear up a few things in the summary of this review – Garfield’s Wild Ride isn’t a terrible game. It’s just a generic game. It has good graphics, great audio and while gameplay is uncreative and a mindless clone, it actually works rather well. If just you’ve played a side-scrolling endless runner before, chances are Garfield’s Wild Ride has nothing new or interesting to offer you. It takes the general concept, slaps a Garfield skin on it and that’s it – just a mindless, generic cash-in that doesn’t feel the way a Garfield game should. Maybe that’s why it’s all in Garfield’s dream? As earlier stated, the nicest way to put it is that Garfield’s Wild Ride would be a great gateway game to Endless Runners for Garfield fans. So if you don’t fit that demographic, this may not be the game for you.
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