Ok, so bad puns aside for a moment, what is the game really like? Well, my kids were a bit luke warm about it, to be honest. It isn't that the game is not well done, and actually quite fun in a “twitchy fingers” sort of way. What I mean by that is that you have to have really good timing on hitting the keys on your keyboard in order to make a particular jump, or kick a monkey at just the right time. Things typical of an action game, but that somehow seem much easier to do on a console type game than on a PC based one. (And yes, for those who have followed my reviews over the months, that is as much a surprise to me to say as it is for you to hear. Somewhere along the way I've learned to play console games.) The game plays out much like your typical video-game turned PC game would, in other words. Which isn't nescessarily a bad thing, it is just a thing.
So why were my kids luke warm about it? I think it has to do with the fact that there really isn't much of a challenge to the game, and they have been spoiled by the excitement and variety in a 3D world. Kim can move left, right, and up/down, but it is all along a straight line path. And she doesn't interact with her world other than punching/kicking her enemies. So it is a pretty straight forward, arcade style game as far as that's concerned. Again, nothing wrong with it, but the thing that our kids are used to games that are more 3D and the characters have a variety of powers. Kim can get power-ups as she goes through the level, like a temporary invulerablity that really helps when fighting some of the bigger boss mobs. And there are a lot of things to collect as you go through the level as well. There are tacos from “Bueno Nacho” hidden through each level, cans to collect (which also help to guide you through the level) and special “super cans” too. This provides replayability for each level.
In fact, when you play through a level, you get a message saying that you have unlocked the “Timed Trial”. The timed trials are just what they sound like. You are given a time to beat, and one chance to beat it. (In the regular game you have three lives, or chances, to get though the level and mini save points in the level that if Kim is defeated she'll go back to so you don't have to redo the whole level.) My kids have found this more fun than playing through the level the first time, actually, because they can just take off and speed through the mission. They've replayed some of the levels a few times over now looking for the hidden tacos and trying to beat their sibling at how many cans are collected.
When I asked my kids, ages 5, 8 and 11, about the game, they all said about the same thing. “It is ok. Its fun to be Kim Possible.” From a parent's perspective, I can tell you that it isn't the first game they pick when they go to the computer, but it isn't one they play so rarely that it only takes up hard drive space. My guess is that if they didn't have game consoles like a PS2 available to them, they would like this particular game more than they do. But for just playing through the levels to unlock a more competative mode, the timed trials, the kids would rather have me unlock the level for them and let them just play, not worrying about the storyline itself. If you are looking for an action game for your young PC gamer, this one will keep them playing for a few hours a week. If you're looking for something that is going to grab them and keep them busy for longer periods of time, then there are other games on Disney's Games Cafe that will do that.
The “glory days” of computer gaming for me were when games like Spectre Supreme, Pirate’s Gold, the Might and Magic series, the original Prince of Persia… those sorts of games were coming out on a regular basis. Back then I owned a Macintosh and was a die hard Mac fan. I was one of the first in my area to buy an iMac and on it learned the joy of playing games on the internet like daily crossword puzzle and “mind bender” type puzzles. My first online RPG was given to me for Christmas the year EQ was released, and I was hooked from day one. I played EQ for about a year. I started playing DaoC during late alpha testing, and was hooked on it.. well, to be honest I still am. I’ve tried pretty much every MMORPG I can get my hands on, from big names like EQ, to more obscure ones such as Underlight. I’ve been writing for IMGS since the first DaoC guide, and find I love the challenge of learning a game and presenting what I’ve learned (and sometimes my opinions), to other players.
I’m not a very strong player as far as learning PvE or quick reaction times, so I tend to stay away from games where I’m pitted against someone else in a way that requires physical (rather than mental) response. I still enjoy story and puzzle games, and in a way that’s how I still approach online games. I would much rather spend hours working through a quest than 5 minutes in combat against another player. I still get lost in simulation type games, obsessing over them until I’ve gotten them beaten. And I like being able to sit down at the computer when I’ve got less than half an hour and playing through a few levels of a puzzle game. I tend not to like first-person shooter type games, or anything with person to person violence, so I steer away from them unless they are fantasy based settings. All in all, I enjoy computer gaming so much that my life feels incomplete somehow when my computer is down.