Around the holiday season not only do we see a plethora of games, but we see a lot of games aimed at the younger audience as well. Why you may ask? Well of course this is when parents are out trying to buy video games for their kids, and what better then a game that doesn’t look like you’re blowing peoples’ heads off, like a children’s game. So we see a lot more of these games during the Christmas season, and a perfect example of this is Scooby Doo: Unmasked, which tries to be a perfect game for parents to pick up while doing their Christmas shopping. But is it worth the purchase? Read our full review to find out now!
In the past when I see games that are based on popular children’s titles like a Scooby Doo game, and I kind of shudder as these sorts of games can bring some really bad outcomes. In order for Scooby Doo: Unmasked to be successful it would have to really change the ways of most children’s games, in that it needs to really become more then just a dull platformer, and have some sort of substance. So can Scooby Doo figure out this formula?
Scooby Doo: Unmasked starts out strong with the introduction, which for the fans of the show will seem very fitting. The basic story puts you in charge of figuring out what happened to Fred’s cousin, who has disappeared in his factory. Now the story of course fits the typical mold and it is of course your job to uncover the mystery and figure out what has gone wrong. The story is pretty lean, but it’s a decent effort that works with the game.
Now one thing I figured out right away is that Unmasked was not going to try and go too far outside the box, as it is pretty much what you would expect out of any children’s game. Unmasked is a platformer, plain and simple, and it very rarely if ever goes away from this point. The game however does do some things differently, and this can be found in our pal Scooby’s list of moves. Basically one of the dominant driving keys of the game and that are the suits he can put on. There are three in all, but basically what happens is when he puts these outfits on he then gets some new abilities which to me was a pretty neat idea. For example one of the suits is a Robin Hood style suit, and in this you can start shooting some bows and plungers.
Although this idea was neat, the rest of the game suffers from a lot of the same problems that I found in many children games. The platforming aspects works well, but the game doesn’t try to bring any new elements to the table. I look at this game and I see basically the same thing we saw from children’s games ten years ago, and this just seems like there is plenty of room for improvement. The controls are along the same line as they work but then again sort of feel a little blocky and I felt the game just didn’t run as fluid as some of the other platformers out there.
In the end I felt that Scooby Doo: Unmasked had some real missed opportunities. I look at the game and I see that the game had much more potential with these suits ideas than just merely making them feel like part of the game. They could have expanded on these ideas in several different ways and given this game a whole lot more diversity. The gameplay becomes very repetitive, and the story like I said earlier is lean and needs much more meat to put on the bones.
Visually most children games struggle, but this is one thing Scooby Doo: Unmasked actually does better then the average kid’s game. The game brings the world of Scooby Doo cartoon to life, with bright environments and colorful characters. On the same token the character models in the game are quite well done, featuring a nice sense of detail.
The only real problem with the presentation is in the animation, which is not Unmasked’s best suit. You see in the game there are some animation problems with the platforming that could have been done much better. In the end this is still a decent children’s title that does well on the Playstation 2.
I started out playing this game hoping that it would bring more then just an average platforming experience, but unfortunately the game just never managed to do this. The thing about Scooby Doo: Unmasked is that you can see they got a lot of the "fundamentals" down, but they never wanted to expand upon them. The game could have been a lot more fun with more suits, and a more varied gameplay system. In the end I have to say that although I enjoyed the game I thought there was just still much too much to improve on.
Are kids going to enjoy Scooby Doo: Unmasked? The simple answer is still yes, they will. But I do think however that they will see pretty early on that this isn’t all that different from all the other games they play, so the lasting appeal of this game in my opinion could be quite slim. If you have a child who enjoys Scooby Doo then have them check out this game, but otherwise this game can be one that most people can just let pass them on by.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.