Vicarious Visions once again serves as an example to ALL 3rd party game makers on how to do a 3D DS game right.

User Rating: 8.3 | Over the Hedge DS
Over the years, every seasoned gamer has learned one thing, avoid movie-based games. Also, many seasoned DS gamers have started to believe that all 3rd party titles should be avoided, because some game producers really do the system a disservice. But for anyone that believes in either or both of these ideas, you can throw that away for the game Over the Hedge for the NDS. Over the Hedge takes place just after the movie's story line apparently, but you may still want to avoid the rest of this paragraph to avoid some slight spoilerage. The game takes place in what is left of a forest after a large amount of suburban sprawl as taken the area over. Various animals, including the main characters RJ the Raccoon, Verne the Turtle, and Hammy the Squirrel, now inhabit this small piece of their forest. Except now, even that little piece that makes up their home is in danger, as the people responsible for ther home being nearly destroyed is about to be completely destroyed... for a pool. So they hatch a plan to have endangered species move in, as a way to protect their small natural island among man.

Gameplay- 8- Vicarious Visions, who has already made Ultimate Spider-Man and Tony Hawk American Sk8land for the DS, once again show that they truly put in maximum effort for the games they make on the DS. Vicarious went a different route from how some may expect some movie-based game about animals to go; the entire game is based around a sort if espionage/item finding game. What's even more strange is how well it works with the story & just how much fun it is. Using a dual-view set up, you play the game using the top screen as your primary view, with the bottom being a bird's eye general view & a way to see where you are in conjunction to traps & enemies. This all works together really well as a way to experience everything that is going on.

Also, the variety of missions in the game is great, due to character variations & different missions. You have 3 characters, the first of which is RJ the Raccoon. He is your idea man & your mid-range character who is in most missions. He can jump mid-range, run mid-rage, etc. He also can climb some cabinets & can pick locks (as many of us know, raccoons have a knack for getting into where you don't want them to). Then there is Verne the Turtle, who is slow, has a low jump, but is able to lift larger items and can duck in his shell to avoid any danger (cardboard box from MGS, anyone?). Then there is Hammy the Squirrel, who is fast, jumps high, but cannot lift as much, ans can also climb cabinets. The combinations of these characters used to make up missions allows for quite a bit of variety in the game. Some missions will be pure speed (Hammy), slow going (Verne), or use some combination of the three of them to use both their strengths to get the job done, whatever that may be.

Graphics- 9- The first time you see how everything is set up, with the colors being vibrant & crisp, you know your in for a treat .Vicarious has decided to use a quasi-cell-shading technique to detail the world. What I mean is, while most things seem to have a bit of a flatter coloring, there is also the use of finer detail work (like the swirls & design on the back of Verne the Turtle's shell). This allows the game to look good from all different distances & avoid some of the graininess issues that plaque some more detailed 3D games for the DS, such as Metroid Prime Hunters. It's amazing, also, to see how the game moves so smoothly with their being a top-down view & a 3rd person behind view being rendered on the two screens simultaneously. And only a few glitches in graphics here & there. Just a great job done by Vicarious & its team.

Sound- 7- The soundtrack doesn't seem to consist of much fordifferent tracks. You have a basic level track or two, and them some different ones doe as danger approaches or enemies see you. There are though, in the houses, different tracks from local stereos, which reall provide some different sounds to keep it from getting boring on the bg music. But other than that, its all very repetative. A redeeming quality though, is that the sound effects are varied enough that you really don't need to run for headphones or anything, due to getting entirely sick of listening to the game.

Value- 6- While the game is very well done, it is over within 6-8 hours at the max, with little need to go back into it. So some people that game heavily will probably be able to move through it in a rental period, but if you genuinely enjoy the game, you may go back into it just to explore more & see if you can have fun with the levels.

Overall- 8.5- Some people may think I'm going overboard on the tilt, but this game deserves all the credit it can get. The game has MINIMAL graphics glitches or slowdown, and plays exactly how it should. Also, the game artistically reflects the movie perfectly. So if your looking for a fun stealth adventure with some cute fuzzy animals thrown in, pick this game up today!