Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Shrek the Third

Shrek the Third

Fall 2007 Video Games
Ages: 10 & Up
Publisher: Activision, Inc.
Price: $29.99
Gaming System: DS

It's another Shrek game, kind of like the last Shrek game. But there's a novelty this time, and you've got to give the designers credit for adding a twist and not just following the usual roam-and-fight formula. In this game, you battle the bad guys, overcome stuff in your way and conquer each of the 20 or so puzzle-like levels by jockeying between the main characters, each with a different set of skills-the brute-force Shrek, for instance, or the jumping and crawling Puss, or the clever shield-bearing Artie. All of their skills are needed to succeed.

But other than that, this Shrek is pretty much another straightforward walk-and-jump platformer. The big ogre and his buddies must unlock doors, cross rivers, break down barriers, and bash the no-good knights, witches, monsters and demons (though the fighting doesn't look violent on the DS screens). Donkey is the game's moderator who watches this all unfold from afar using a crystal ball, and can send his pals magical help when needed.

Graphics here are decent 3D for characters and scenery, but movement is done in 2D and that's a bit frustrating. Game play combines button-pushing, stylus-touching on the screen, even blowing into the microphone (it's how Artie gets across the river on his shield). Like in the movie, the dialogue is smirky funny and gets players past some of the repetition doldrums that arise after a while as challenges begin to look too much alike.

Thumbs up for making Shrek the Third cooperative-play capable, so multiple players can work together in a game. But, except for Shrek diehards, after an hour or two, the game won't draw much of a crowd.

Don Oldenburg   ©2007 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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