Review: Igor: The Game (Nintendo DS)

Igor: The Game
Developer: Legacy Interactive
Publisher: SouthPeak Games
Genre: Puzzle/Fighting
Release Date: September 19, 2008

When playing a movie based video game, one has certain expectations. First and foremost on that list is mediocrity. Not far behind, is the idea that the game will be highly derivative of another game. In those regards, Igor: The Game doesn’t surprise.

However. . .

Igor does surprise in the choice of game it emulates. One would expect a DS game based off of an unpopular children’s animated feature to be rip off classic platformers. One is less likely to expect such a game to reinvent Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo.

Upon starting the solo mission of Igor, one is subjected to a series of captioned drawings introducing the story. Our main character in Igor is, naturally, Igor who is an “Igor”, the game/movie’s term for the hunchbacked assistants to mad scientists. Igor, in theory, works for Doctor Glickenstein, whom I imagine is similar to Dr. Frankenstein only more frugal.

Apparently, Igor is a mad scientist trapped in an Igor’s body. Rather than go through the requisite hormone replacement therapy and reconstructive surgery, Igor up and decides to start inventing things. His prize creation/love interest is Eva, a lady-monster who looks to be assembled from the parts of deceased linebackers.

In order to win Eva’s affections or save her from kidnappers or something, Igor has to win a series of tournaments wherein he battles his monster against the monsters of mad scientists. (None of these monsters appear to be pocket-sized, which is probably why Lucard is not reviewing this game.) Aiding Igor on his quest in a re-animated rabbit and a brain in a jar.

So after sitting through cut-scenes (which provide noble attempts at humor), the game begins. But wait, we don’t have a monster! So, we send Igor to the recycling center to collect body parts, needing a torso, head, right leg, left leg, right arm, and left arm. You get to choose from a large selection of. . . ONE of each of these things. After fighting through a counter-intuitive menu, we collect each of these parts and send Igor back to the laboratory to put them together. After constructing our beast we are prompted to “brainwash” him, via a timed game similar to Columns or Dr. Robotnik”Ëœs Mean Bean Machine. This thing charges up the monster’s hit points; more combos in the puzzle game equals more power for your monster.

Now that our monster is charged up we are free to have Igor travel around the map screen., but most of the places are still locked. Occasionally, we experience RANDOM MONSTER BATTLES! Slime monsters, Fungus monsters or what-have-you will “attack” randomly at certain locations. It’s not really a big deal, because these fights can be ignored. If the duel is accepted, the game segues into battle mode: a puzzle game remarkably similar to the brainwashing technique.

Here’s how it works: You see the monsters with their respective hit points on the top screen. On the bottom screen is the puzzle game. Colored blocks fall down in conjoined pairs that can be rotated. There are regular blocks and burst blocks. Regular blocks of the same color can join together to form larger blocks. When a burst block touches a block of the same color it destroys all adjacent blocks of that color.

So, pretty much just like Puzzle Fighter.

But it is a bit more complicated than this thing. In addition to the puzzle game, there are six other sections on the bottom screen. There are four gauges that represent strikes: one for the left hand punches, one for right punches, one for left kicks and one for right kicks. These gauges correlate to the colored blocks. I.e. destroy a bunch of yellow blocks, and you fill up the left kick meter which is also yellow. One a gauge reaches a certain threshold you can tap it, making your monster perform the appropriate attack. The more the gauge is filled the stronger the attack will be.

But it is a bit more complicated that just this thing. There is also a “evil bone” meter. When this thing is full it can be tapped with the stylus, prompting you to tap a sequence of four attacks. You are given five seconds to do this, all the while the blocks in the puzzle game are still dropping.

If you can keep track of all this and beat your opponent, you’ll get some money and maybe some spare material for making new parts.

There is one more box to tap with the stylus whilst battling: your potion box. You can buy potions at the map’s hardware store. Then if you go to your contextual menu, you can equip one of these for subsequent battles. The potions have a temporary effect on your opponent or can recharge your monster’s hit points.

Now, the hardware store also sells RECIPES. You need these recipes to create new arms, legs, heads or torsos for your creatures. These new parts will change your appearance, and vary your stats ever so slightly. Buying the recipe is not enough, though. You will also need the raw materials. You can’t buy the raw materials, you earn them semi-randomly by beating monsters. Some monsters will drop vines or slime or fungus and so on.

It’s a pain in the buttocks.

Say you want to build a vine monster. You need to beat an enemy or two to get enough money to buy the recipe. You see that you need 16 vines to make a vine body part. So, you wander around the map battling monsters until one of them drops some vines. Problem is: they only drop 4. So you wander around battling monsters until you are able to beat 3 more monsters that will provide you vines. By this time your monster is, most likely, flashing red. You need to repair. So go home to the lab, right? Nope, you got to go to the recycling center, and select each part to be repaired individually. The menus are counter-intuitive, and it took me a long time to figure out that the proper procedure for repair. (Thankfully, repairing your monster’s original recycling center parts is free.)

So your monster is repaired, and you have 16 vines. You go back to the lab to build you some vine monster and realize that you only have enough vines to make ONE part. If you want a monster that is all vines, you got to get 16 vines for EACH part. That means you need 96 vines. That means you need to find 2 dozen of the right type of monsters and win 24 fights with them just to make a vine monster, a monster which isn’t even very powerful. These battles can be long and the meters will fill up unpredictably, and very often the opponent has more hit points that your monster.

So you decide to nix the whole vine monster thing and enter the first tournament with a monster who has one vine arm, a slime head and stock everything else. Your stats haven’t changed noticeably. The tournaments work, well, almost exactly the same as every other battle in the game save that these guys don’t drop anything but money.

You win a tournament, and a couple of more areas are unlocked.

After the first tournament, you unlock a pickle shop from which you can take on side quests. On these side quests you . . .
. . .

. . . wait for it. . .

BATTLE monsters in exactly the same Puzzle Fighter style as everything else in the game. The only difference is that now you have to go to the pickle shack to pick up your modest monster battling reward.

The next tournament is pretty much the same as the first tournament, only with 10 tougher opponents. Since it’s freaking time consuming to minimally upgrade your monster, you might be best off just strategically using a potion during these fights. So you’ve got to make block combos fast, remember to strike when those meters are full enough, hit your combos as soon as it’s ready, and keep an eye on everybody’s hit points, because your unsprayed monster will take damage like a baby.

If you battle enough, you’ll eventually unlock a shop where body parts can be bought and sold directly. WHY DO I HAVE TO UNLOCK THAT THING? Can’t that just be available from the beginning? Just don’t offer me the best parts until I do X, Y or Z! Or make the best part really expensive.

Cripes all Friday.

The whole game is maximum effort for minimal reward.

Graphically, the puzzle stuff looks fine. How badly can you mess up blocks in this era? The monster battle animations are clunky and choppy and out and out ugly. Although, you won’t be paying attention to the top screen during a battle, as there are 8 things to keep track of on the bottom screen.

In terms of the sound? Well, it’s there, but you won’t notice the music on the default levels. If you turn up the music levels full blast in the options menu, it will be loud enough to hear. The music is surprisingly nice once it can be heard.

Finally, I will also note that this is the only game that has crashed my Nintendo Dual Screen on multiple occasions. Accepting a random monster battle has frozen my poor little DS Lite 4 times in the past week.

The Scores:
Story/Modes: Mediocre
Graphics: Below Average
Sound: Enjoyable
Control/Gameplay: Mediocre
Replayability: Good
Balance: Poor
Originality: Poor
Addictiveness: Mediocre
Appeal: Poor
Miscellaneous: Below Average
Final Score: Mediocre Game

Short Attention Span Summary
Igor: The Game is a mediocre puzzle game, buried in a sea of complications. It makes customization a chore. It’s the sort of game where if your monster is damaged you have to repair it six times to recover its health. monster one part at a time. Menus are hard to navigate. I would not recommend this game for the under 7 crowd as it is far too complicated. Young children will only be frustrated.



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4 responses to “Review: Igor: The Game (Nintendo DS)”

  1. Voldeganon Avatar

    As someone who has played this game (a lot), I don’t think you’re doing it quite right. Or at least, you’re complaining for the wrong reasons. When it comes to customization, the main problem is that between levels 3-4, all the recipes sold and received are pretty much crappy, and the only parts worth investing in come from Frankensnoozle’s, during that interval. But on the whole if you’re going for stat upgrades, the most useful 3 by far are hitpoints, damage, and defense. Speed and skill… those two stats, really, I’m not at all certain what they do, since that stuff is primarily determined by how good with the puzzle part you are. I can go pretty quickly so I ignore speed and skill for the most part.

    Um where was I… oh there was another point I was going to make, about the durability. If you have multiple parts available for use, if your creature starts going down in wear and tear, just go to the creature maker and switch an arm out for another or something, then leave. Then go back in and reuse the part you just switched, and voila, it’s green again, without you paying a penny. Though, nothing bad happens to you (as far as I can tell) even when the parts are so beaten up they flash black (I tested this, black is the one thing worse than red), um… so I think to upgrade your other stats that’s pretty much for aesthetics. When I play I use primarily parts from brimstone bot and stinkwood, maybe a moss thing in there… and during that 3-4 period, armor bot parts. Still on a quest to create the 5 star creature, and I keep coming verry close, but no cigar… and ah well.

    My other problem though is when you fight the enemies in the tournaments and the bosses… they all have the same types of opponents. No twisted frankenbeasts like you do, no way to see how other combos work, and then on top of that… no people like the game enough to multiplayer it… and, it’s never once crashed for me, but I do like it.

    1. Michael Kennedy Avatar
      Michael Kennedy

      After some consideration, I am willing to declare you the world’s foremost expert on this game. Expect a certificate in the mail anon.

      1. Voldeganon Avatar

        An update to the speed/skill hypothesis: After doing some more testing, which involved fighting against Jowls and Pompons (for speed stat) and against Whiskers (for skill stat), and using their respective parts in monster creation, I have determined the following:

        An improved skill stat will cause the blocks on your OPPONENT’s side to fall faster. When facing AI, skill does have an impact in that it gives the AI less time to react, and this can also work well against human players who are less (actually) skilled with performing the tetris-like puzzle. Reaching the top does, after all, reset all your power gauges (including your evil combo meter) even if all of them are full. If you have a higher skill stat, your opponent is less likely to make good decisions, and consequently may mess up and reach the top.

        Speed, on the other hand, does appear to be entirely an aesthetic on the player. Speed only appears to impact the AI–high speed will do nothing for you in multiplayer, and those 93 hitpoint Pompons are practically useless. Higher-speed AIs are better at completing the block puzzles and are often faster than the player to start hitting you and bringing you down to size. If you’ve been investing in high hitpoints, defense, and strength, however, then even if you are immensely slow, this should not impact your performance significantly.

        If you for some reason DO find yourself in a dire strait, the most useful thing to do is secure a potion at the shop. A speed buster is invaluable if used right before an opponent unleashes their evil combo. Potions can’t be used in multiplayer, which further illustrates the pointlessness of the stat Speed, and the speed buster regardless will only work to reduce an AI’s speed to zero, which renders them incapable of doing anything for about 5 seconds or so. A stun potion, really, does the same thing, but of course they would never tell you that. The only straightforward potion is the hitpoints potion, which restores your creature exactly 100 hitpoints, unless your critter has less than a hundred maximum hitpoints to start with, in which case it is put back at its maximum, and excessive hitpoints healed are lost. Strength busters can be useful, also, but to me the most useful potion of them all is the Defense Buster, which temporarily reduces the stat of the opponent’s defense to zero. Well how much damage can you deal in 5 seconds, you wonder? If you plan it right, you can tear open a new asshole on your opponent. You see, while it’s possible to set your evil combo meter off the moment it gets filled, you don’t have to use it. Instead, let it remain full, and then work up enough power so that red, blue, green and yellow icons pop up and shine again, but DO NOT PUNCH/KICK yet. Let them remain lit. When all of them are lit up and close to full, you now have the ability to IGNORE your puzzle (it becomes inconsequential at this point), and do the following:

        1. Activate your Defense Buster.

        2. Evil Combo as fast as you can.

        3. Without waiting for the evil combo to trigger, immediately set off all four colors and turn back to your puzzle screen.

        4. If you have any big puzzle blocks that can be burned in the next couple of seconds burn it as fast as you can and click the corresponding color icon.

        5. Activate your Evil Combo again if there’s still time.

        … YOU WIN!

        Why? Let’s look at the stats here for a moment, and consider what happens if you invest in power and have 5 star strength, and what happens if you unleash all that pure power while the opponent’s defense is at zero.

        Firstly, each punch/kick will deal somewhere in the random range of 22-30 damage, and you’ll be unleashing four of them in a short timespan. One ultimate combo at full strength versus no armor deals a whopping 50 damage, but you’re doing that first. Activating the four colors in sequence after your evil combo in the allotted time will recharge your evil combo meter to 4/5 of its potential nearly immediately after you’ve used it, so you can be ready to do it again soon. Now looking at the damage total so far, that’s a maximum potential of 50 + (30 x 4) = 180 damage, in less than five seconds. That’s enough at least to make the game much less of a hassle, just by completing the first three steps. Steps 4 and 5 are optional, and it’s much harder to fit it in in time, but I’ve managed to do it three times, so it’s possible. In addition to the maximum 180 damage you deal from the offset, it’s possible to up that damage to add in that last 1/5 of the gauge, for 30 damage, and then pull another Evil Combo for another 50 damage. The result is being able to deal 260 damage within a few short seconds, and that’s not counting any damage already done prior to activating the Defense Buster. Put simply, if you look at the respective health totals of each creature it’s possible to encounter in the game, 260 damage is more than enough to kill just about anything. The only things with enough hitpoints to survive such an ordeal are the fully-powered Stink Root and the fully-powered Poopsy, which have respective health totals of 320 and 280, respectively, but by the time you’ve unleashed this power, both should be severely weakened and easy to finish off within the next five minutes. And even if you don’t manage to pull the last couple steps, 180 damage in under 5 seconds is still going to pretty much spell doom for any opponent you’re up against.

        You may notice I don’t include the final boss of the game, Dr. Schadenfreude’s four-star Titanium Bot made of plasteel parts, as an enemy that can survive the full five-step combo, though his hitpoints are roughly around 263 if I remember correctly. As I’ve previously stated, you’ll need to have hit him at least 5 times prior to activating the 5 step sequence, since that’s the minimum amount you need for one full gauge of Evil combo meter. This boss’ defense is exactly four stars, but even if you invest nothing in strength, the game won’t let you deal less than 1-3 damage on a successful hit, and we already know that for the maximum damage potential we’ve stated, we’re at full 5-star strength. So no, if you manage to successfully pull the 5 step combo on Dr. Schadenfreude, even if it doesn’t do the maximum damage potential, he’s still practically down for the count.

        I hope this will prove useful to anyone else who actually bothers to play the game now that you and other commentators have already given it such a negative review.

    2. Voldeganon Avatar

      For a short guide of which parts to invest in for your monster, level by level, look no further.

      Level 1- Invest heavily in fungus foot and in rock bot. Acquire some brimstone while you’re at it if possible, you’ll want it for later, and if you encounter flowers, vines, amphi-hide, slime, and carapace, keep these around in small quantity. At higher levels, parts for the things you want will require these other ingredients in smaller quantity as prerequisites.

      Level 2- Barkwood should become available at level 2, along with brimstone parts and carapace. You can keep some fungus if you wish, but at this point you should shift the direction of your interests to include barkwood, brimstone, and carapace. Your goal should be to create a 2-star monster which incorporates these parts. If there is any part of your initial Fleshy remaining, dispose of it.

      Level 3- Around here there is a noticeable shift in the difficulty of wild creatures you encounter, and no more will the root enemies pop up. All of them will be about 2 stars in difficulty, though it is still too early to see 3 star creatures popping up outside the arenas. The only recipe you may find useful to pick up in the wild during level 3 will be the 2-star carapace, but for now you should focus on the newly-opened Frankensnoozle. Invest in parts for the Armor Bot, and if you feel gracious, add in a few tinker-toy Poopsy ingredients for general amusement. These should carry you to beat the level 3 boss with no hassle.

      Level 4- Here it gets a little interesting, because the monsters in the wild get noticeably stronger again, but the recipes you’ll be wanting for them aren’t available yet, (GRR). Plasteel also becomes available in the shop, as a one-star, but this is a bad investment. Instead, focus on upgrading your Armor Bot parts. If you choose to go full-Armor Bot, this isn’t a bad thing at all and it will help you last longer. Just make sure you pack a Defense Buster when facing other Armor Bots and you’ll be fine. Alternatively, pack a hitpoints potion, especially when facing the boss, which should be a level four Poopsy (which is odd, since level 3 Poopsy parts aren’t yet available in the shop), of Dr. Holzwurm.

      Level 5- There is again, a wild difficulty upgrade as you stop seeing level 2’s and start seeing 3 star creatures. The maximum Armor Bot upgrades are available, as well as level 2 plasteel, but at this point it’s safe to look back to the wilds. The recipes you actually want start showing up, finally, like 3 star brimstone, 3 star barkwood, 3 star carapace, 3 star Whiskers, and the like. Feel free to incoporate these into your creature to your heart’s content, though do be mindful of which body parts you upgrade with parts (they do make a difference). All heads have no Strength, for instance, regardless of what level the part is or what creature it is, and torsos are the most hitpoint-intensive. Therefore it’s more advantageous to have a barkwood torso than a barkwood arm or leg. The level 5 boss is easy to destroy if you, again, stick to your guns.

      Level 6- So now you’re enough of an expert to enter the Evil Science Fair, mmm? Well there’s some good news for you here, because all the wild monsters are at less than final upgrade, and yet the recipes for the final upgrade are available! Four star barkwood, brimstone, carapace, you name it. The only recipe you can’t get is 4-star plasteel, because they timed it so you can only have access to 3-star plasteel at level 6. Why don’t you have access to 4-star plasteel, mind you, when you have access to all the other super strong recipes now? Because as you’ll discover, the final boss, Dr. Schadenfreude, is using a (you guessed it) 4-star plasteel, and the 4-star plasteel indeed looks pretty badass. Interestingly, even if you upgraded to a full power Brimstone, Carapace, or Barkwood, it would still be very hard to destroy the final boss without the aid of a potion, which is like a cheat since the AI can’t use potions. It’s just strong enough that despite the 5 star ability of some bots, this final boss is 4 star all-around and exceptionally difficult to kill, because it has no weaknesses. …Still, plug away through and focus on the three stats given and you should be able to do it.

      Level 7+? – Is this even a thing? Apparently so. After you beat Dr. Schadenfreude all the wild creatures you encounter become fully upgraded and are showing you no mercy. And, the 4-star plasteel parts used on Dr. Schadenfreude’s machine monster become available in Frankensnoozle’s. At this point you can just feel free to customize to your heart’s content, and enjoy! …I hate, though, that the interface for 2 DS players with Igor have the exact same interface regardless of whether or not they also have the game. You SHOULD be able to pit your own unique creation against someone else’s, but it won’t allow that.

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