Having played through a good chunk of the new South Park XBLA game, I have some major problems to report. It’s quite a shame for me to say that this game isn’t much fun, but that’s the truth. Not only is it not much fun, but it feels relatively short and lacking anything original or interesting. South Park: Tenorman’s Revenge feels like more than a cash grab.
Collecting time particles is tedious and repetitive.
I am sick and tired of games that have at their core a collection scheme. After over 30 years of console games, you’d think that the idea of collecting stuff would have withered away. While I grant exceptions to games like Super Mario because the series created the collection genre, I won’t give a licensed game like this one a free pass. It’s just flat-out lazy game design. While playing this game I spent 90% of the time jumping from one stupid particle to the next. It’s repetitive, lazy, and way worse than a cliche at this point.
The game is too hard for one player to play.
Despite the simplistic controls and gameplay, I found this game a bit too hard for just solo play. While I understand the game was designed to be played co-operatively, a good game can be played alone as well. Games like Castle Crashers have proven that co-op games can still be fun played solo. Developers need to focus on both the individual experience and the group experience when crafting a game like this. New Super Mario Bros. Wii is the high mark in this field and Tenorman’s Revenge is right at the bottom.
The controls are far too loose.
If you’re going to make a game based on a retro control scheme, you’d better make sure it controls well. Side-scrolling platformers have existed for decades and this game proves that lazy design can make the easiest of games zero fun to control. The players are way too slippery to be precise and the controls are not reliable enough to be fun. When fighting the first major boss battle, I died hundreds of times because my character couldn’t grab onto a ladder effectively. That’s just inexcusable. If you create a puzzle that involves ladder climbing than it is essential climbing that ladder is intuitive.
It's an embarrassment to the South Park brand.
Despite Matt Stone & Trey Parker’s love of video games, they have never been the recipients of a well-made game. Perhaps THQ’s SOUTH PARK: THE GAME will come to their rescue. Unfortunately, Tenorman’s poor development, tedious collection gameplay, and weak single-player support makes this yet another licensing failure. It’s great that the boys of South Park keep on providing dialogue and strong performances… just too bad that the games never live up to the quality that they deserve.