hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Review: Overlord: Minions

6:00 PM on 07.12.2009 // Jim Sterling

Codemasters definitely pushed the boat out with its Overlord franchise this summer. Following the surprising success of the original game, this year saw three games in the series release simultaneously: Overlord II on the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, Overlord: Dark Legend on the Wii and Overlord: Minions on the DS. The latter game was the least talked about and was certainly the most curious, so I was naturally very eager to play it.

Play it is what I have most assuredly done, and we now present to you our full verdict. Does taking direct control of the Overlord's grinning slaves feel as fun as it sounds, or does Minions fall into the same traps as its bigger brothers, having some great ideas that are bogged down by poorly implemented controls and design decisions?

These questions we shall answer, as we review Overlord: Minions.

Overlord: Minions (DS)
Developer: Climax Studios
Publisher: Codemasters
Released: June 23, 2009
MSRP: $29.99

Overlord: Minions is cuter and more cartoony than most Overlord games, as players take the role of a rather adorable dark master. Aided as always by Gnarl, players have to take down an emerging new threat known as The Kindred, who are meddling with ancient relics that are connected in some way to long-extinct Dragons that used to roam the world. Unlike other games, where players command Minions to do their bidding, this DS spin-off is all about taking direct control of the cackling little gremlins.

Players will command a "special farces unit" comprised of one of each Minion type. Giblet is the brown fighter, with a high HP value, strong attacks, and power to push heavy blocks. Stench is the green assassin who can make himself invisible, survive poisonous areas and (sigh) fart out flammable clouds. Blaze, the red minion, specializes in throwing fireballs and can pass through flame, while the blue Zap walks in water, heals fellow minions, and can directly attack spectral enemies. 

Overlord: Minions predominantly takes the form of a puzzle game where players use the unique attributes of their team to get past obstacles and progress through the level. Sometimes stages require the use of only two or three minions, while others will require all four creatures. Though the puzzles never get particularly challenging, they're rather clever and it can be quite satisfying to clear a stage.

The game is controlled entirely by the stylus, and it sadly suffers as previous touchscreen-only games like Phantom Hourglass have. Trying to make the stylus do absolutely everything simply doesn't work as well as developers hope it will. The control method, while perfect for a limited number of tasks, is too unwieldy for multiple responsibilities and the game frequently gets confused. Trying to get Zap to heal other minions is a nightmare, since moving the stylus will either make him do what you want or just walk around aimlessly. Getting Minions into the correct place and making them do the right thing in any situation sometimes feels like a game of luck.

It's made worse by the fact that the minions themselves are thoroughly stupid. They'll wander into trouble if you let them, and if you're sweeping the entire team, stragglers have no problem walking into fire or poison, even if it hurts them, and they'll regularly get stuck on a corner or otherwise trail so far behind that they stop following the unit and wait for you to manually make them catch up. 

As seems par for the course with Overlord games, the problems are quite tragic because they hold back what is otherwise a great game. Minions is full of cool ideas, especially the boss battles. While the first few boss fights are frustrating affairs, some of the later ones really put the emphasis on making the minions fight as a team. It's also quite impressive how much mileage was squeezed out of a limited set of ideas, as the game continues to feel fresh despite the simplicity of the puzzles. 

Minions looks relatively decent for a DS game, with simple 3D models and backgrounds. The cutscenes, which are hand-drawn still images, look really good, although the "story" could use quite a lot of work, as could the humor, which generally revolves around fart and burp jokes. The sounds are all rather simple, and the music isn't all that varied, but what there is of it is pretty solid stuff. 

Ultimately, Overlord: Minions is a game for puzzle fans who have a high tolerance for frustrating design. It's a great game that sometimes fights with players due to its loose and sometimes confused stylus control, but the game's fun-factor and satisfying puzzling gameplay overrides the annoyances to create a pretty good little portable title. Fans of the series could stand to lose a few bucks on this one. Due to the relatively short campaign and lack of replay value, you might want to hold off buying it at full price. 

Score: 7.0 -- Good (7s are solid games that definitely have an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.)

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

ikiryou avatarikiryou
Went to play MGSV, got prompted to download the MGO data; it's not on the PS Store yet. Or maybe it's Kojima-san's way of telling me it's not the real MGO data, but is instead a janitor who once protected me from a puddle of pee and now wears my face.
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Going grey >>>>>>>>>>> Going bald
Rudorlf avatarRudorlf
Recently watched the Cannon Films documentary, by the director of Not Quite Hollywood. Super entertaining, hilarious, and it almost made me want to watch some of the Cannon films. Almost.
CaimDark Reloaded avatarCaimDark Reloaded
PEOPLE! PEOPLE! PEOPLE! Tomorrow I'm meeting Shade of Light in RL!
able to think avatarable to think
Tip for those who have plasma TVs and are playing MGSV; go into settings and make the weapon icon only appears when you're aiming. I had to buy a new TV because the weapon icon got permanently burned into my plasma.
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
Any of you cute little butts gonna be at London Comic Con?
Jiraya avatarJiraya
You felt your sins crawling on your back... [youtube][/youtube]
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
what was the first game that used crowd motivated you to contribute ?
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Mad Max, Critters and some The life and times of Tim to finish the night. T'was a good day.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I was excited to learn one of my favorite Philip K. Dick novels, The Man in the High Castle, would be receiving its own TV show. After watching the pilot, I'm cautiously optimistic. Looking forward to the rest in November.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
I'm going to be honest; this is my new favourite line in anything ever. GOTY 2015 and all that. Also cocks: [img][/img]
I thought Laura Kate's Destiny piece for Polygon was pretty neat.
Barry Kelly avatarBarry Kelly
Bungie have decided Kojima isn't the only one who can do 4th wall breaking shenanigans. Congratulations Destiny players, you're all now The Taken King.
I have (jokingly) wanted a remake/sequel to Geist. And then I went to YouTube to watch a longplay to see it in action again and thought, "nevermind!"
The humblest person I know avatarThe humblest person I know
I'd been worried that Jim had been losing his sanity with all the Steam sludge he's always attacking. If you've been feeling the same way, good news. His new vid warmed that void and reminded me that I follow him because he had no sanity to start with. ;)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Reading the Star Citizen expose reminded me of the whole Firefall mess last year. [url=""]Found the gamefront article [/url]
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I went from listening to the soundtrack of SMT IV, to the soundtrack to Mario Kart 8, Smash 4, Fire Emblem, and now chilling with some Mother 3. All of it was pretty awesome by the way.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
After the 11th, I'm going into cryosleep until SMT IV Final is out. I'm sure Mike, Occams and Strider can manage without me. [img][/img]
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
In need of another writer for my monthly blog on the PS Plus games. Given how nobody really reviews all of them (and after spending time downloading bad ones), I thought it'd be a nice time to try and do it for the PS users out there. So... Need some help
Sonic Dash 2: Sonic Boom is a thing...TT_TT
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -