Cartoon Network hasn't been doing a very good job with its videogame adaptations of Adventure Time and Regular Show. Barring one decent (but very brief) romp on the DS and 3DS, the two properties have disappointed fans left and right on the iOS platform, only to leave them wanting more.
Next up on the chopping block is the beat-'em-up Best Park In the Universe - Regular Show, which seeks to marry one of the oldest genres in the business with the magical tandem of Mordecai and Rigby.
Best Park In the Universe - Regular Show (iPad, iPhone [reviewed on an iPhone 5]) Developer: Heavy Boat Games Publisher: Cartoon Network Release: May 23, 2013 (WW) MSRP: $2.99
The setup, like most episodes of Regular Show, is hilariously absurd. Loveable characters Mordecai and Rigby are tasked with improving their live-in job at the park, and thus, enter a pact with a stranger from space. Predictably, said stranger is actually evil, and is collecting parks from other worlds to create a massive park of his own. In order to save the park for all the wrong reasons, the gang must journey to retrieve their home through a technical loophole -- since after all, they do not own the park, and thus couldn't actually sign it away.
To be clear, Best Park is a beat-'em-up game through and through. You'll trek across the game as Mordecai and Rigby with a tag-team format, which restricts gameplay to one character at a time. Movement is controlled by tapping where you want to go on the screen, and swiping to either side initiates kicks and punches. It sounds absolutely awful in theory, but works amazingly well -- especially for a mobile game. There's a small skill tree level-up system that allows you to enact minor upgrades as you beat up foes and earn experience, which is a nice touch. It's fairly rudimentary, but a step up from most beat-'em-ups that don't have any progression at all.
Despite the promising setup, the game ultimately turns into a pretty repetitious affair. While enemies tend to be fairly varied visually, ranging from middle managers to ghosts, they don't really act all that different -- which basically means the game boils down to swiping constantly and occasionally pausing to tap two fingers for a super attack. The tag-team style gameplay is a neat idea, but it's often much easier to just min-max one character, which eliminates most of the potential depth in the game. If Mordecai were a ranged-only character and Rigby excelled at close quarters, for example, it would create a solid dynamic to build on, but that's not the case here.
The retina graphics cause the visuals to really pop (especially on an iPhone 5), and help make the experience feel a bit more like the TV show. The patented Cartoon Network half-assed quasi-voice acting is still present, only offering up the occasional sound bite from the TV show to complement select parts of the game. I can't imagine it would be hard to commission a simple fully-voiced intro with the two heroes and maybe a few original lines in-between stages, but either way, a lack of original voice work hurts the package.
Best Park is spread over 15 levels, all of which feel roughly the same. Once again, the repetition begins to set in mostly as you face similar foes across levels that actually are quite different looking. More updates are planned for the game which will add extra levels, but for now, you'll have to deal with the ones you've got.
It's a better attempt than prior efforts but Best Park in the Universe doesn't really aim all that high. As long as you're not expecting much, it's a decent beat-'em-up that somehow manages to produce a solid control scheme. If you're a diehard Regular Show fan, you may enjoy it.
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