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The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy
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The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy - Review
Written by James Hobbs

The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy is a very, very odd game. In fact, I should clarify – the game itself isn’t particularly innovative, but the story and characters appear to have been dreamed up by a gaggle of crack smokers. As someone who’s never seen the television series, I found myself mildly surprised – I was expecting a cute kids game.

Grim Screenshot
He's sad, but he can only smile.
Certainly, Grim and Chums could be described as cute, and the game definitely appeals to kids – there’s an inherent silliness that would make it perfect for younger gamers, despite the large amount of violence featured. The plot revolves around Grim, the guy who looks a bit dead – his chest has been raided, resulting in his Mojo Balls being released unto the world. What exactly Mojo Balls might be I’m not entirely sure, but they have the effect of infecting everyone with rage, in some kind of weird cartoon pastiche of 28 Days Later.

Of course, after you’ve been infected with rage all you want to do is fight, and hence the game requires you to romp through various levels beating the crap out of people. Whilst these levels are interspersed by cut-scenes, annoyingly skipped if you move the Wii remote, the entire game is spent fighting other characters, with the exception of the mission mode. There isn’t really any great diversity in terms of what you can do, and the game quickly begins to feel rather limited.

You have only a couple of moves at your disposal, and it quickly becomes apparent that you just have to mash your opponent and quickly and as hard as possible in order to succeed. It’s an exercise in repetition, and it does get tiring fairly quickly. Thankfully, however, the developers saw fit to include a fairly large arsenal of weapons, ranging from flamethrowers to the amusingly named Scythe 2.0 – it fires lasers. This does help to make the gameplay more interesting, particularly as there is such a diverse amount of weapons, and many of them are genuinely funny – the Pane-o-glass gun fires windows at your foes, whilst the Brain-sucking gun ‘incapacitates opponents by stealing their brain.’ If only we had one of those at the Wii UK Cave.

Whilst the weapons are a nice addition, the game runs at such a slow pace that even the novelty of removing an opponent’s game begins to wear off. The game allows you to use a GameCube controller or the standard Wii remote / nunchuck setup, but both modes run at a horribly slow pace. You can perform a dash manoeuvre by pressing Z, but this is woefully inaccurate, and often ends up with you dashing in entirely the wrong direction. Unfortunately, it’s the only way to accelerate beyond a walking pace, and as such you’re resigned to using it. It simply doesn’t feel fast enough for a fighting game – it’s stultifyingly slow, and as a result it doesn’t feel as exciting as perhaps it could.

Graphically, Billy and Mandy sports a stylised cel-shaded look that works well in the context of the game. It’s bright and colourful, reflecting the barmy nature of the game, and the frame rate is fairly consistent throughout. The more sinister levels, such as the laboratory, are rendered appropriately, whilst still retaining an air of nonsense. The levels themselves are destructible to some extent, and at various points during the battle you are able to move on to a new area to continue. This isn’t anything new in a fighting game, but some of the transitions are quite nice – at one point you resume your fighting on the back of a lava-dwelling snake monster. However, the way in which you make the transition is often awkward and cumbersome, and it’s difficult to judge distances properly – this can result in an untimely death, and could have been implemented more effectively.

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