Boring Gameplay Meets Criminally Long Load Times
I’ve gotta be real. Bloom and her fabulous fairy friends are gonna have a hard time trying to convince any PSP fan to pick up a copy of their game and join their little Winx club any time soon. Konami’s first year installment of the television series proves extremely underwhelming plagued with a weak fragmented storyline, shallow mini-games and the worst load times EVER seen in any game on any console to date. Read further if you’re interested. If not, you won’t be missing anything as all of the above pretty much sums up things in a nutshell.
The game follows the six fairy understudies, Bloom, Flora, Stella, Musa, Tecna and Layla, after completing their first year at the Alfea School for Fairies. The Winx Club is called in to save the world from the menacing villain Lord Darkar and his three wicked witch sidekicks Icy, Darcy, and Stormy who are bent on taking possession of the Codex, a powerful emblem that would grant Lord Darkar incredible powers to do his every bidding. It’s up to the girls to thwart Darkar’s evil scheme and protect the Codex at all costs.
Players embark on their adventures from four main areas: The Alfea School, Red Fountain, Shadow Haunt, and the Clock Tower. From any of these areas players can access a sizable handful of little mini-games which can be played in any order.
Sadly however, this is where any interest that one might have for the game at this point begins to take a serious nose drive"and I’m talking about the kind of fast dive that would make your nose bleed.
Each mini-game begins with a tiny clip from the cartoon itself which doesn’t do anymore than add more confusion to an already choppy storyline. Afterwards, players will be forced to entertain themselves with a bunch of mindlessly boring challenges such as outrunning wicked witches, spaceship chases, and memory games just to name a few.
To make things worse most of the linear mini-games are plagued with awkward camera angles and shabby controls. Simply put, gameplay wise there’s just too little to even be remotely excited about.
On a faintly lighter note, should you actually manage to play long enough you can earn yourself a number of un-lockable bonus items, in particular furnishings to help the girls spruce up their dorm rooms as well as clothing and hairstyles to keep them up to date with the latest fashion. Unfortunately though, while the concept is pretty catchy at first, over time it, like the rest of the game, proves to not be worth your while.
However, the absolute, honest to goodness reason why one should never fork out ANY dollars whatsoever for this title is undoubtedly it’s excessive, possibly record breaking load times. I can honestly say that I have spent more time loading this game than actually playing it. How bad is it? There’s at least a two minute load time between every facet of the game including load times when you boot up as well as load times before and after each and every mini-game or transition from one area to the next. It’s atrocious, it’s mind-numbing, it’s outrageous, it’s straight up crap, and there’s absolutely no excuse that can justify this kind of presentation.
So let’s just save ourselves quite a bit of load time now and skip right to the end of this review. The game’s storyline is so fragmented and choppy that if you’ve never watched the show you’ll never fully understand what’s going on. The numerous mini-games offered up prove to be extremely boring and un-engaging and aren’t anymore tempting to replay through a second time even if it means unlocking some hidden furniture or new outfits and such.
The absolute deal breaker is the games incredibly excessive load time problem. There’s no way anyone is going to be joining this club any time soon with load times like that. A very merciful single GiN gem is all I can give this little UMD of horrors.
Moms and Dads, if you have even an ounce of love for your kids, please don’t buy them this game to prove your love, else you might find yourself in a very lonely club of your own.