Phineas and Ferb
Reviewed by Didi Cardoso
Review Date Platform Genre Rating Production
2009-03-17 Nintendo DS Action/Platform E (Everyone) Disney Interactive / Altron

All these Disney games based on Disney shows, and I - living under a rock as far as TV goes - seem to be oblivious to it all. My most recent discovery on this subject is called Phineas and Ferb.

Phineas and Ferb - named after the show - are two creative boys who are handy with tools and love to come up with inventions. School's out, it's summertime and there is nothing to do. The boys then decide to build a rollercoaster spanning across the rooftops of the city, which is quite an ambitious project, if I must say.

Starting in their backyard, the boys adventure out into the city to find parts and gadgets that they can use to build the missing rollercoaster track pieces and vehicles to ride on.

For the most part, the game is an adventure/platform title. You roam around the neighborhood with both Phineas and Ferb, switching characters as their abilities are needed by using the left trigger. Phineas can search through the scrap metal piles to find useful parts. Ferb can repair things that you need to progress and access other areas, such as moving platforms, for example.

At the bottom right of the touch screen, there is a "combine" button that teams up the boys. This is used to press floor switches, climb ladders and walk on a tight rope, as one carries the other on his shoulders.

No matter what you do, you will catch Candace's attention. Candace is their older sister, and she will come after you if she gets too suspicious. On the top screen, you find the Candace meter, which goes up every time you do an action. Walking around doesn't count, and if you just stand around you can watch it slowly going down. There are items that will also decrease the meter when used. If the Candace "Busted" bar fills up, a mini-game begins where you have to dodge her while picking up all the screws in the area map, in order to leave.

The other mini-games are presented as you build the rollercoaster. There's a puzzle mini-game where you rotate and place the pieces on the frame, then hammer them into place. There is a welding task where you need to trace the piece within the lines, and there is also a simple hammering task where you must tap the nails the number of time indicated on the screen. All of these have time limits, but they are fairly simple tasks.

The most complicated is the "Build It" mini-game, where you must create a part out of two random pieces of scrap. Here you are given the two pieces and you must flip and rotate them until they fit together. It's in full 3D, and you'd figure it would be simple, but the rotation of the pieces by tapping the arrows doesn't seem intuitive enough.

Once you have a vehicle, you can ride your rollercoaster, which is a game in itself. It's basically a side-scrolling platformer, where your car will go along the tracks picking up power-ups, avoiding paint cans and collecting stars. The stars are what open up the next level, you must collect enough of them to advance. The rockets you pick up let you use a turbo boost, which when activated in the loop can take you to space, which is a bonus level.

As all the most recent Disney titles, there is also connectivity with D-Gamer (Disney's online community), with extra goodies and honors (think achievements) being unlocked as you play through the story.

While mostly straightforward, Phineas and Ferb has too many menus, quite a bit of reading and little voice acting, which may turn off the very young crowd that it is primarily aimed at. The controls throughout the main adventure switch from the D-pad to the triggers with some stylus in between, which may not be suitable for all ages either - even I found it clumsy at times. My third and last complain is the saving system, which can only be found in the boys' backyard. There's no quick save feature to let you resume at a later time, which I would have greatly appreciated, just as to not backtrack through two or three areas just to save my progress.

For the most part, Phineas and Ferb is not a bad game. Granted, I'm way past the target age (6 to 11), but I was actually entertained by it while it lasted.

Special thanks to Laura Bryce and Disney Interactive for providing a copy of this title.