Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz review for PS Vita

Platform: PS Vita
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Virtual Toys
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

I can imagine why you might be skeptical about the quality of Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz. After all, it's not just a game targeting a younger demographic, it's a licensed game: the combination of those two things may understandably fill you with dread. It's important to remember, however, that there are plenty of examples of licensed kids games that didn't suck — including the last Phineas and Ferb game to grace PlayStation consoles, Phineas and Ferb Across the Second Dimension — which is why you shouldn't go in expecting it to be terrible.

Of course, if you reach that conclusion after actually playing the game, I wouldn't blame you. That's certainly how I'm feeling about it now, after having spent several hours with it.


Okay, perhaps calling it "terrible" may be a bit harsh. I know I've played worse 3D platformers, even if none are jumping to mind right at this very second. But if you're looking for reasons to dislike the game, they abound.

First and foremost, there's the profoundly mediocre gameplay. While Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz doesn't do anything really badly, it doesn't do anything particularly well, either. Every aspect of movement — running, jumping, shooting — feels stiff and unresponsive, and things aren't helped by the artificial barriers the game throws in your way. You don't get to double-jump until well into the game's second chapter; you have to feel your way along invisible, arbitrary walls blocking you from exploring the rigid path the game has set before you; you can't fire your weapon if you're standing too close to anything: in all of these ways and more, you're constantly reminded of the game's limits. I'm not saying I want a giant, open Tri-State Area to explore, but I don't think it's ridiculous to be annoyed by little things like being able to walk on one side of the street but not the other.

(And don't even get me started on the way the game arbitrarily stops you from reaching certain areas that clearly have goodies. I understand wanting to pad out the length a little by making players go back and replay levels, but that doesn't make it any less stupid that you can jump on top of a box, but you can't jump over a fence while standing on top of a park bench simply because there are more coins to collect on the other side of the fence. And the way Day of Doofenschmirtz allows you to sparingly use a jetpack…I feel like just shaking my head in frustration is the only reasonable response.)


This mediocrity extends to every other aspect of the game, too. It's nothing special to look at, with graphics that could be described as bland if they didn't include so many headache-inducing colours. (I get that the cartoon looks equally odd, but the way it's rendered here has all of the ugliness and none of the charm.) The music? Highly repetitive, but not in any way that you'll remember within a few seconds of turning off the game. And it's entirely possible the story makes some sense if you're an avid watcher of the TV show, but if you're not a fan, I don't think this forgettable nonsense is going to turn you into one.

Even if you are a fan, though, it's hard to imagine that you're going to want to sink all that much time into this. Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz is obviously not designed to be some money-grabbing cash-in (if it is, Disney picked the wrong platform for its exclusivity) but you still have to wonder why on Earth it exists. It's just kind of there, and it should be abundantly clear to anyone playing it that that's not nearly enough.

Grade: C