Based on the film of the same name, Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted is a tie-in that sees the famous zoo animals stranded away from home again (somehow!), when they decide to join up with a travelling circus in the hope of finding their way back to America. What follows is a series of collect X of Y treks around European cities, and circus-themed mini-games, in which kids get to play as Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Gloria the Hippo and Melman the Giraffe.
Levels are generally pretty straightforward affairs where you just need to find and pick up the items requested by Skipper the Penguin and King Julien, but the game gives you no indication of where the item can be found, no obvious notification when you've found it, and no hints that you then need to return to the starting point to deliver the aforementioned item. Sadly, all too often, this leads to you aimlessly wondering around searching for an item you've already picked up and not realised it, because the game didn't tell you. It's something that'll make younger kids stumble, especially, when they get confused and drop the game pretty quickly when they don't seem to be able to get past the level.
Another aspect of the game which may bother kids are the Animal Control officers scattered around the city streets - who, once they spot you, will chase after you, unless you manage to get out of their line of sight (usually by jumping on a ledge/market stall). Should they catch you, rather than restarting a few feet away from where you were caught, you'll instead have to start from the beginning of the lesson - although you at least get to keep the items you've picked up. While they're generally a bit on the dopey side, there isn't always a convenient ledge/market stall around for you to leap on, and a whole pack of wardens swarming round you ends in an unavoidable 'death'. Adding to that the panic that some younger kids may feel at the sight of one, and it's not a recipe for a very fun kids title.
The entirety of Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted can be played in two player co-operative, with each player taking over one of the characters from the film. Each character has their own set of unique abilities which will need to be used to progress through the levels, meaning co-operation is the key to success - at least in theory. In practice, seeing as the game's been designed to be played in single player, with one player switching between two characters, the co-op mode sadly all too often ends up leading to boredom, as, while one player's off activating a switch, moving a platform, or solving a puzzle, the other's stuck with absolutely nothing to do, making Madagascar 3 a game best suited to single player play.
Based on the upcoming Madagascar 3 film, the game features no violence, guts and gore or swearing.
Format Reviewed: Nintendo Wii