There comes a time when a game, despite all its many faults, turns out to be fundamentally enjoyable. For me this lesson was learned with Namco Bandi’s The Munchables.
First off, lets say that it’s no big surprise that this title is utterly ridiculous, as are many of the things that come out of Namco Bandi.
Here we have strange food creatures that exist in a world comprised of separately themed islands. Life is going splendidly for these peaceful beings, when a fleet of invading UFOs filled with "Space Pirates" descend and take control of the planet’s eight "magic orbs," which look suspiciously-I kid you not-like cartoon piles of feces.
It is only then that the Great Elder of Star Ving Island realizes that he has possession of two creatures that contain the ability to stop the evil aliens by eating them alive, and from here, the aptly named "Chompers" and "Munchy" go on a rampage from stage to stage, eating everything that enters their paths.
Basically, what we have here is 3D Pac-man with a story that’s so messed up it leaves you scratching your head and wondering what mind-enhancers the developers used when creating this gem.
Still for all the many ways of making fun of this game, The Munchables actually turns out to be quite engaging, and while the story will have you swearing vegetables and fruit for a while, the gameplay will keep you glued to the screen between cut scenes.
The controls for this one are simple: Use the nunchuck toggle to guide your Munchables (eating monsters) through each world, use the "A" button to eat, the "B" button to attack, and lift the controller to jump. There is also a tracking feature that can be implemented, but it is ultimately a useless frill.
With every enemy that you eat, your characters gain level experience and grow larger until it can attack bigger monsters and navigate through each level without boundaries. Think how in Katamari Damacy when your katamari is small, fences and random junk can block your progress, but when you get larger they become just something to skip over.
And while the story travels beyond any redeemable characteristics, it does tend to have a sense of humor with itself, giving the narrative just enough levity as to not condemn it for being entirely stupid beyond words.
In the end, what you have is a kid’s game that should hold their attention through manageable-yet-challenging gameplay. This is made even more enticing as there are several unlockable costume add-ons to discover as you collect hidden acorns and play through mirror levels following the completion of the game.
There is also the unlockable character "Robo," who has increased powers over the two main characters, which adds even more of a reward system to that which is in place.
Overall, A strange game but a good one for those who don’t mind taking their titles too seriously. I would say parents and kids would get a kick out of it just for the easy gameplay and the utter strange factor involved.
Developers: Namco Bandai