Garfield's Nightmare
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2007-09-18 Nintendo DS Platform E (Everyone) The Game Factory / Shi'nen

One of The Game Factory's titles that I had the chance to check out at E3, Garfield's Nightmare appeared to be a fun little game featuring the laziest and most famous cartoon cat ever.

The story begins as Garfield stuffs himself with a gigantic sandwich, only to go have a nap right after. Of course, this causes him to have a series of nightmares.

Unfortunately he can't wake up since his alarm is broken, so on his quest through the dream world, he must find the parts to fix it.

Presented with 3D graphics but played as a 2D side-scrolling platformer, Garfield's Nightmare takes you through several colorful adventures, each representing one of Garfield's dream stages.Each of the dreams is composed of five levels of jumping, pushing crates, bouncing on enemies and collecting items, much like a Mario game. The action is played on the top screen, and you control Garfield with the D-pad to move and X to jump.

The collectibles include lives, coins, pizza slices and donuts, all of which are shown on the touch screen. The lives represent the number of tries you can have before it's game over. The pizza slices are your health and dictate how many times you can get hit. Collect 100 donuts to get an extra life. Coins are used to open the Sleepwalk Doors, which lead you to a mini-game where you can collect extra lives.

The different dream worlds are very distinct in style, look and sound. You begin by going through a haunted castle, where the enemies are ghosts, spiders and bats, with stone and brick walls composing the backgrounds, acid pits, spike traps and draw bridges. Next you will be making your way through a primitive level with a volcano theme, with hot lava shooting fireballs, pre-historic creatures, poison mushrooms and giant eggs. You will also have to find your way around cloudy skies dodging stormy clouds and tornados, as well and snowy and icy winter lands.

The puzzle-solving is fairly simple, and involves only three things: jumping, activating switches and pulling or pushing crates. Other than that, all you need to do is avoid enemies or bounce on them to get through.

There are five levels per world, and they are fairly big for this type of game, with plenty of hidden areas, doors and collectibles to discover. Although the simplest way takes you through the game quickly, exploring has its dangers and in some areas can end up in losing a few lives in a matter of minutes. There are checkpoints placed throughout the stages, but sometimes you may miss one, depending on the route you take.

At the end of each nightmare world there is a boss fight, a simple "hit it three times" type of battle. Defeating the bosses unlocks mini-games on the main menu and gives you a piece of Garfield's broken alarm clock.

Although the game is visually attractive, vibrant and detailed, the soundtrack doesn't impress too much, but the tunes fit the environments. Garfield's sounds are pretty funny and very cat-like... especially the dying sound, which always got my cats' attention. The gameplay also feels a little slow, since Garfield doesn't exactly run through the levels, but being a fat cat does that to you, right?

Garfield's Nightmare controls well and gives you an old-school platformer feel with a more modern look. Unfortunately, Garfield himself is the only element from this license that appears in the game. Regardless, even if this was someone else's nightmare, the game would still be a solid and child-friendly platformer.

Special thanks to Damien Sarrazin and The Game Factory for providing a copy of this title.