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Noddy: A Day in Toyland Review

Developer: The Game Factory Publisher: The Game Factory
Release Date: October 12, 2006 Also On: None

Europe has introduced America to many things. Some things, such as the Rolling Stones, are appreciated. Other things, such as the World Wars, we could probably have done without. Somewhere in the middle lies Noddy, a children’s show that, from what I’ve read and heard, is quite popular in Europe. This show made its way to America at some point, and it was inevitable that as it gained popularity, a licensed game based on it would eventually follow. But, is this game, A Day in Toyland, any good? Read on to find out.

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Graphically, from what I can tell, the game is very reminiscent of the children’s cartoon on which it is based. Despite it being a two-dimensional game, the world of Toyland looks as accurate as can reasonably be expected. Granted, the level of detail isn’t very high, but then again, it isn’t really very high in the cartoon being emulated either. Overall, the graphics do a good job of portraying the world of Toyland, and are certainly good enough that the intended audience won’t be put off by them.

On the sound front, the music is cute and upbeat. I don’t know if it was drawn from the cartoon or not, as I’ve never actually watched Noddy, but either way, it fits the atmosphere of the game well. I can certainly commend the fact that one doesn’t have to listen to the same musical theme for the entire game, as the music is sufficiently varied so as to not become totally boring by the end. The sound effects, although few, do what they need to as well. Although the sound could certainly have been handled better, what is here isn’t bad and adds to the game’s quality rather than detracting from it.

So far as gameplay is concerned, A Day in Toyland is a 2D platformer for the most part. The game consists of twelve levels, each of which has an objective of some type. The eight levels that are platformer levels are fairly evenly split between levels where you need to explore the environment to find a certain number of objects and levels where the objective is simply to reach the end.

Regardless of which type of level a level is, they all lack challenge and the enemies, although varied in each level, are repetitive within the levels in which they appear and are quite easily either avoided or “defeated”. I say defeated in quotes because instead of attacking them, you throw them either food or money to distract them from you. This is a game for very young people after all, so it is probably for the best that it lacks violence.

The level designs aren’t anything to write home about either. In many cases, the level design does have elements that are appropriate to the environment that the level in question takes place in, but elements tend to repeat themselves quite a bit, enough so that they sometimes almost get to the point of being repetitive. Noddy can jump and throw things, but his jumping, particularly horizontally, isn’t very impressive, which can make some jumps seem a bit harder than they should. In addition, Noddy doesn’t move very fast, which, while it adds a bit of length to the game, can sometimes make the game drag a bit.

The other four car levels are a bit better. They’re fast-paced, having you move up and down on a road to avoid hitting obstacles, and the only thing you have to worry about is reaching the end. In addition to obstacles, there will sometimes be animals on the road that you have to honk your horn at to scare off. This is an effect that would probably be appreciated by those at whom this game is aimed, although the horn sound will probably get old after a while to most people.

All told, each level only lasts a couple minutes, and I was able to finish the entire game in about thirty-five minutes. Granted, it will take young kids longer to finish the game than this, but that doesn’t change the fact that the game itself is short. The game has a mode that allows you to begin anywhere at any level, but this is available from the beginning. There’s also a scrapbook of cutscenes, also all available at the beginning.

For the most part, however, there’s really no reason why most people would want to play this through too many times. Indeed, once through would probably be enough for most people. Unless your kid is an absolute Noddy fanatic who wouldn’t mind playing the same levels over and over, this game, although it would likely be entertaining for most young children, isn’t long enough to be worth a purchase, at least not until after a price drop.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 6
Gameplay: 5
Creativity: 4
Replay Value/Game Length: 4
Final: 5.1
Written by Martin Review Guide