G-Force Review

Fun combat and crafty puzzles make this a good companion to the blockbuster movie.

In the real world, guinea pigs are oversized rats that sleep in their own filth and enter the afterlife in the crumbling confines of an old shoe box. In the video game world, they don high-tech weaponry and have jetpacks strapped to their furry backs. So when the fate of the planet rests in the tiny paws of these domesticated rodents, be glad that it's happening in a video game rather than in reality. Thankfully, not only are these unexpected heroes up to the task of saving humanity, but their licensed game is also quite fun. Although it doesn't break new ground for 3D platformers, and the lack of variety can lead to brief bouts of boredom, G-Force is a well-put-together experience with engaging combat, crafty puzzles, and rewarding exploration.

For the majority of this 10-hour-plus game, you play as Darwin, the field leader of G-Force. A nefarious being has tampered with the delicate circuitry of everyday kitchen appliances, causing them to attack their owners with merciless force. There is a surprising amount of story interspersed with the action; unfortunately, it's not particularly interesting or humorous. Every few minutes you'll have a brief back-and-forth with your support team, and though these exchanges point you in the right direction, they aren't entertaining, and they crop up far too often. These interludes don't muddle up the action too much, given that you can jump and shoot while your objectives are being laid out, but be prepared to put up with a number of groan-worthy puns and cheesy one-liners during the course of your quest.

At least the action is smooth and satisfying. From the first moments of the game, where a tutorial guides you through your basic moveset, it's clear that the controls in G-Force are one of its strong suits. Whether you're shimmying up a drainpipe, diving out of the way of a flying electric shaver, corralling a crowd of waffle irons with your electric whip, or using your jetpack to reach a high computer terminal, everything in G-Force responds with precision. There is a lot of combat in G-Force, and though there aren't many different weapons to play around with, it's still fun. Enemies come in many forms and require you to use different strategies to defeat them. An evil desktop computer can be harmed only when it exposes its glowing circuitry, air fresheners poison the surroundings with noxious gasses, and blenders hurl oil, acid, and other nasty substances if you can't take them down quickly. The flow of new enemy types abates as you get deeper into the game, but there are enough unique enemies to keep the fighting fresh for most of the journey.

When you aren't battling monstrous microwaves, you'll have to solve puzzles such as figuring out how to open locked doors or hack delicate computer equipment. There is a good bit of variety in these parts, so you'll have to use your noggin to bust through a wooden door or melt a block of ice encasing a computer console. The best moments of these sections, though, are when you control your fly pal Mooch. He may not be armed to the teeth like Darwin, but he can fly all over the environment, and it's really fun squeezing through metal grates or zipping along lights hanging from the ceiling to nab power-ups. You can also slow down time so you can pass through the treacherous blades of a spinning fan, and this technique is used really well during an extended segment later in the game.

G-Force does a good job of mixing up combat and puzzle solving so you don't have to toil on any one task for too long, but monotony does settle in after a few hours. There are a few unique environments, but they all look pretty much the same, so you're always making your way through some bland government facility, without any visual diversity to keep things fresh. And though the combat and puzzles are satisfying, there aren't many memorable moments to break up the action. There aren't any boss fights, and the two times you take to the road in your motorized hamster balls are dull. The driving controls are loose, so it's difficult to fly around curves with precision or shoot enemies out of the air with panache. Played in small doses, G-Force stays joyful because the individual pieces are so well done, but things get repetitive when you play for long stretches.

Flying around as a fly--how novel.
Flying around as a fly--how novel.

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of G-Force come packed with 3D glasses, which do a good job of making objects and characters pop right off the screen, but they also end up giving everything a muted gray tinge. The Wii version doesn't have this option, but the visuals are still rather nice. Darwin and the venomous appliances he battles are well animated. When you run over a pool of oil, Darwin will flail his arms to regain his balance, and when he talks, his facial movements are subtle enough to make this heroic guinea pig seem creepily lifelike. The enemies have their own form of locomotion, so egging on a microwave until it gives chase is amusing. The personable characters are mostly able to overshadow the sterile environments, which keeps things visually appealing even when you run through an air duct for the umpteenth time.

Satisfying action makes G-Force a darn good video game adaptation of the blockbuster movie. Younger players should get a kick out of taking down rampaging paper shredders and navigating through claustrophobic air ducts, but there are enough tricky puzzles and explosive combat to satisfy more experienced players as well. The lack of diversity, particularly artistically, makes the game drag at times, but the solid gameplay is largely able to rise above any tedium. G-Force isn't just fun compared to other licensed games; it can stand tall on its own furry legs.

The Good

  • Fast combat, clever puzzles, and rewarding exploration
  • Flying around as Mooch is really fun
  • Lots of different enemy types with unique weaknesses

The Bad

  • Little visual variety
  • Drags at times

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