ReviewsReview: The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf

Review: The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf

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If I say “careful not to Smurf yourself!” or “run this Smurfing way, Gargamel is after you!” would you know what I was talking about? If you do, congratulations, you had an amazing childhood, or your kids love an awesome TV series. If not, you are about to enter the colourful and nonsensical world of the Smurfs. The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf is now available and is the latest string to this rather dated but much-loved bow.

Developed by OSome Studio and published by Microids, this is a colourful platform-adventure title. Set in the magical Smurf world, you will control your favourite characters. You must leap chasms, avoid traps, heal plants, and remove the cursed vegetation. It has a vivid and striking art style but is a standard platform title at its core.

Quite the obstacles to overcome.

The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf blends cute with the mundane. 

Creating a unique platform game is tough, but this is made much harder when you must incorporate classic cartoon characters. The developers have done a great job of making a brilliantly cute world that traverses many locations. They have also drip-fed mechanics to expand each area and make out of reach places accessible. This was great if you adore gathering collectables and cleaning up loose ends. However, if you find this tedious, you may struggle when playing The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf.

So, what the Smurf is it all about? Well, first you will hear the word “SMURF” a ridiculous amount. It’s to be expected, but I Smurfing hated the Smurfing word by the end of it! Anyway, now I have that out of my system, let’s get back to the story. The Smurf village is normally a peaceful and beautiful place. Its people live there in peace and harmony, and subsequently, its residents are content and happy. Unfortunately, the evil wizard Gargamel has other plans. He has created the despicable plant, the Vileaf! This devilishly evil creation attracts Smurfs and captures them while alerting him of their presence. You must control four iconic Smurfs and use the Smurfizer to remove the plants and scupper the nasty wizard’s plans.

New equipment and upgraded gear. 

Like all great platform-adventure titles, this one is full of collectables and new equipment to unlock. The Smurfizer is the key tool to new abilities and exploring the Smurf kingdom. It allows you to cure plants, hover, sprint, and more. With Handy Smurf’s help, you may upgrade it to increase its tank, power, and so forth. It was a wonderful way to make players revisit previous locations as you try to cleanse every plant and find every collectable. Moreover, I loved how the new tools and skills were added at a gradual pace. 

The inclusion of new mechanics never felt overwhelming, and revisiting old locations was exciting. Subsequently, the longevity of the gameplay was increased. It is true that the core concept was repetitive, and curing the plants was monotonous! However, each new ability reduced the tedium while grabbing your attention.

Can you cure all the poisoned plants?

Livid creatures and monstrous plants. 

Each stage is loaded with creatures that throw themselves at you or shoot projectiles. These Smurfingly annoying foes stand between you and your stage goal, and each level culminates in a battle with a “Viletrap”. These monstrous plants capture any Smurfs who step near them, and the only way to kill them is to cure every Vileheart. You will leap, hover, and sprint your way to victory. Sadly, though, none of these encounters are challenging and you’ll go through the paces with little difficulty.

I would have loved the developers to have made this much harder as victory was guaranteed. I know this is aimed at a younger audience, but the simplicity will turn off many older players. Fortunately, however, the challenge is found when you want to complete each area. Searching every nook and cranny, and using each tool and skill correctly, is the only way you’ll succeed. Subsequently, this takes patience, practice, and a very cool and levelled head. Needless to say, I failed this part of the game miserably. 

The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf is colourful and attractive, but its viewpoint is lacking.

I’ve been a fan of The Smurfs for years. Recently, my kids have got into it and I’ve been able to relive the classic art style. I wouldn’t have been disappointed if the developers had kept this approach, but I love what has been presented. The vivid colours, cute characters, and sprawling stages catch your eye. Furthermore, the animations are good, the movement is smooth, and this makes it enjoyable to play. Sadly, though, there is one glaring oversight, and that’s the occasionally distracting viewpoint. The camera angles can make depth perception challenging to understand and this causes mistakes. Subsequently, this leads to frustration and unnecessary failure.

The upbeat nature of the friendly characters and the chirpy atmosphere is brilliantly conveyed in the audio. The upbeat tunes reflect moments of success, whereas harder-hitting tunes highlight moments of danger. I adored how the music matched the action without overpowering each stage. This was continued with the amusing acting and familiar dialogue. Each character is captured perfectly and you’ll enjoy their unique personalities that shine through. If I were to change anything, it would be that the original actors were hired to voice each Smurf. This would have added to the authenticity, but I liked what was created, nonetheless.

Use the mushrooms to jump higher.

The controls could be better. 

The art of a great platform game is to ensure the controls are spot on. Sadly, though, The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf is a little clumsy. The developers could have mapped input options much better to make them more accessible. An example is that jumping and hovering use the A button. At times, you’ll just want to jump, but you’ll hover unexpectedly and mess up completely. Moreover, the movement is hindered by the poor camera angle and lack of depth perception. Therefore, it can be challenging to move around, especially when hovering. Unfortunately, there is little the developers can do, and it’s a case of making the most of a bad situation. It’s not game-breaking, but it is annoying and definitely noticeable.

At a base level, this title is repetitive and will put off players. Yet, if you love finding collectables and tidying up loose ends, you’ll love it. The drip-fed mechanics keep you coming back for more and allow you to see old areas in a new light. Where the developers missed an opportunity was the introduction of each new Smurf. I would have liked unique characteristics or traits. However, they all move, jump, and act exactly the same. This was a shame and was surely an oversight. 

The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf captures the cartoon magic.

It’s easy for developers to take a much-loved franchise and do little with it. To their credit, The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf captures the magic of the cartoon. The characters are great, the world is fantastic, and each level contains many secrets. However, its poor camera angles and repetitive gameplay stifle it and prevent it from being a phenomenal platform-adventure experience. It could have been better, but I still loved it and recommend you to buy it here! Will Gargamel finally succeed, or will the Smurfs dash his dastardly plan?

My vvideo review with footage captured from my Xbox Series X, enjoy!

SUMMARY

The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf is a fun and colourful platform-adventure title. You must upgrade your equipment, overcome obstacles and foes, and stop Gargamel before it's too late. With lots of collectables and large levels to explore there is plenty to see and do. Sadly it is a little repetitive and this taints the overall experience.

+ Colourful 3D graphics.
+ Excellent whimsical audio.
+ The stage design is interesting.
+ Great for younger players.
+ Lots of collectables.
+ Can be played solo or couch co-op.
- The camera angle isn't always great.
- The action can be repetitive.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email: [email protected]

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