Barbie as The Island Princess Review

Based on the DVD movie of the same name You play as Rosella, the shipwrecked princess, who is raised by animal friends and rescued by the adventurous Prince Antonio from her island. Through a series of mini-games joined by music and characters from the DVD movie you will venture from Rosella’s island home to the Prince’s coastal castle in a fun filled adventure!

  • Experience 5 beautifully recreated locations from the movie: the Deserted Island, the Royal Ship, Harbor Village, Apollonian Castle and the Greenhouse, all while interacting with your favorite movie characters.
  • Design your own wardrobe of clothes fit for a princess.
  • Join the fun with Princess Rosella, Prince Antonio, Tika, Sagi, Tallulah and more! Customizable princess clothes

When a movie is released directly to DVD you worry about it, and when a game is based on a movie you worry about that. So a game about a movie released directly to DVD should turn you grey pretty quick, right? Well lets just see about that.

The graphics are pretty good for the intro and cut scenes. The island that Barbie manages to wash ashore upon is quite lush and rich with natural treasures. I suppose it wouldn’t be much fun if she landed on one of those glorified sandbars that poor palm tree trying to get-away-from-it-all lived on. There are all sorts of trees and flowers and fauna about. We are brought into the plot with a young Barbie washing ashore where a couple natives (a peacock and an elephant) take her in.

The games are not quite as well detailed. One of the first games is a contest where you pick flowers, and must get more than your opponent. On a tall tree, set upon a vine pulley system, she scratches the flowers off the trees. Not a very kind way to treat a delicate flower, hm? The graphics are about as simple as it gets with the character’s backs to you the whole time, and the flowers themselves are little more than bland pink 5-pointed stars.

It’s all very functional, but the game itself has no sparkling detail, use of angles or anything to be above average.

There are basically two types of sounds in the game. There are the sounds in the menu and games themselves, and then there are the sounds in the cut scenes.

The menu is little more than simple melodies that tinkle in the background as they should. A sharp chime as your cursor rolls over a game available to you. This continues in the mini-game along with 1 or 2 sentences that each chracter will spout over and over and over again. Even with two-player competitions, there are maybe a grand total of 4 lines that each chracter will say in regard to the actions on screen. One of these is usually some polite manner of telling you that you screwed something up. It all gets very repeitive very fast.

The cut-scenes are taken out of the movie to keep you in line with the plot that is lurching forward and are hardly audible. As the menu chimes and in-game chatter is as loud as comfortable, the cut-scenes are nearly impossible to hear without turning the volume up. Then when you go back to the menu there is a good risk of damaging your ears, or worse, your speakers.

The control system is neither sharp nor well implemented. There the aforementioned shaking the controller (to pick flowers or shoo away birds). There is the point and aim system used in a pearl dredging game and a javelin toss; which is much less interesting that it may sound. There is the analog stick to move around and use the A-button to drop something.

The shaking of the controller is appropo for shooing birds and such, but to claw flowers off a tree was clumsy as it sounds. Why there wasn’t something a little closer up to the flower and some careful manipulation to pick such a delicate creation ties in with the harried feel of the game to get it on shelves along side the movie that you never knew existed.

The point and aim system is sloppy. On a couple of occasions there was a mouse arrow on my screen several inches outside of where I was trying to point my javelin in order to knock bananas off trees for the noble use of ‘making smoothies.’ Aiming wasn’t impossible, but hardly necessary since the bunches of fruits are flying by so quickly that it was luck if you managed to see it in time to hit it anyway. Trying to line the thing up for the bullseye was about as random as The Price is Right‘s money wheel. After you’ve seen it enough times, you kind of know what strategy to use to park the needle on $1.00.

It is nigh impossible to screw up a game with the analog stick. That is proven even here. In one particular game, there is fruit falling out of tubes in the ship. You walk over, plant your basket underneath, and when you have a full basket you dump them out into a barrel 10 feet away. Ok, how hard would it have been to A: move the barrels over to the tubes, or B: extend the tubes to the barrels? Then, at least, we wouldn’t have to wave the Wiimote about like Neanderthals to chase away brave birds with the audacity to grab fruit right out of your basket rather than off the deck where supplies were ample.

No throwing motions are used. No casting for fish. And no real thought put into making these work more effectively.

Gameplay consists of 5 or 6 mini-games on each of 5 levels. in between each mini-game you are awarded a number of roses which are put towards matching different items of clothing. How stereotypical is that? The poor girl has to do all those chores, many of which are athletic in nature, so she can earn fancy clothing! The mini-games are very easy to do and did not even challenge my 7 year old daughter. She did spend a few minutes tinkering in the dressing room, but that didn’t hold her attention for long.

So the game is, in fact, a collection of mini-games with cut-scenes from the movie peppered throughout. From these samples of the movie I’ve seen, it isn’t too good and the game is somewhat tied to the tracks on this issue. The big penalty of all this peppering is some really ghastly load times for what seem like very simple games. Even the Wii shouldn’t take that miuch time loading what might be 1MB of actual code.

Barbie as The Island Princess is no more valuable than it’s lesson to children. The game appears to tell you that everything is a competition and if you have to move someone out of your way to get it done then all the better. In many games, the main tactic is get there first and block the other guy.  This is not in tune with my family values, and as a game it is fairly boring.

Perhaps if you’re options are to either get the movie or game, the game gets you the general jist of the movie down to the storybook ending.

Im not sure what Activision and Mattel had in mind with this, but the execution is fairly haphazard. If you’re really into Barbie, or a serious collector of all things Barbie, then perhaps this is your diamond in the rough. For me, however, other Wii games have been done much better with less. It couldn’t even hold the attention of my kids; whom I shall admit are less into dainty and glamorous than some.

Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming. Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter. Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 21 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).
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