It’s time to finally play the third big game in the Ninjabread Man family. Conspiracy Games came up with other titles of course and I will be playing one of them soon, but Trixie, Ninjabread Man, and Anubis are the ones that I consider to be the big 3. Unfortunately, this might be the worst game in the trilogy. It all begins and ends with the final boss that is excruciatingly bad. It’s quite telling that this is the first game in ages where I had to go to Gamefaqs in the end. I try to make it a hard and fast rule that I will never use online resources to help me out in a game because I need the full 100% bragging rights. No matter how tough it makes it for games like FF VII. Still, I didn’t think that I needed to give Anubis the same level of respect and attention. The game basically cheats by not even telling you what the controls are.
There isn’t really a plot, but based on the back of the cover, you have been sent out to stop the villains! That’s not a bad premise I suppose although it certainly could be better. You are thrown into the first level without any other context. There are 4 main levels and four-5 mini ones as well. They all play out the same way aside from the final boss fight, where things get a little more intense, but not in a good way. You have to find 8-10 sacred pieces of something to unlock the time gate that will let you clear the level.
The levels are a little more linear than Ninjabread Man and I am also pretty experienced at playing this game by now. The levels are very similar to the other titles after all and you get used to reading the compass after a while. The game certainly isn’t very difficult so you will clear each level on your first or second try. The actual length of the game is quite short after the unreasonably long first level and you’ll have it beat in a few hours at best. There is absolutely no replay value to be found here, which hurts the game even more. The price is very low so that’s a start, but at this point you may as well buy a slice of pizza.
Now, I don’t mean to knock the game too much, but it has some pretty big weaknesses. For starters, the gameplay is your classic 3D platformer. You can swing your cane around to whack people on the head and you can shoot energy blasts as well. The latter is always your best option so use that to defeat enemies and beef up your health bar and lives. You can also jump of course and I recommend using the Z button over the motion controls. The latter is simply too unreliable and it is what hurts the gameplay. The level designs aren’t great as it is, but it’s even worse when you keep falling in the same spot. Luckily, there aren’t too many places where you can fall to your doom, but it can still be sad. I didn’t find out that you could jump with the Z button until I was at the final boss. If I had known about this earlier…things would have been very different!
Either way, the sword swinging is still rough though and a nice little Z button feature isn’t going to save this flawed game. The music consists of the same recycled theme that we’ve heard over and over again in the other two titles. It even plays for the final boss since the developers clearly couldn’t grab a second theme to put into the game. It’s pretty lazy if you ask me. The graphics are rather sub par although I wouldn’t call them terrible or anything. You can still see what is happening so that is definitely a plus. Games like Hidden Invasion have a lot to learn about proper brightness settings.
The final boss is what destroys the game though. If you thought that you had seen a poorly developed game before…think again! The final boss isn’t really a fight as you have to keep climbing these blocks that will disappear from time to time as you grab grenades. The game never tells you how to fire them by the way. To do this, you have to hold the A button and make a swinging motion. The problem is that it won’t work very often and the boss is on full spam mode so the energy shots never stop coming. If your grenade doesn’t come out in time, prepare to take some heavy damage. It gets old quickly and this boss took me way too long to complete. It quickly brought the game down to size. Otherwise, it may have stood a good chance of being the best in the trilogy. The Z button allowing you to do proper jumps is a huge improvement, although I suppose that there is the chance that the other two games had such a feature as well. All of the levels are suddenly a lot more manageable with this feature. If only there was a button for attacking and throwing bombs as well.
There’s also a weird glitch in the game where the Nunchuk will stop working sometimes. The game will keep telling you that it is not connected anymore of the game will suddenly have you running in a direction and you are unable to stop without unplugging the Nunchuk and plugging it back in again. I had to do that a great many times during the game so I feel like there is something wrong with the code. Granted, there are probably so many things that went wrong in the code that you could get lost there.
Overall, There’s not much reason to play this game so I can safely say that Anubis II lived up to its reputation. The Motion Controls on the Wii weren’t very good even with the AAA games. It’s not really a surprise that they tanked miserably with this title. The developers probably just checked to see if it could at least be slightly playable and then ran off with what little money they got from this game. I doubt it had a whole lot of quality control and it may not have had any at all. I can’t really picture myself buying an Anubis III, but if I ever see it in the 2 dollar bin, then maybe I’d take the plunge. If you’re looking for a bad game to play for fun, then I recommend Ninjabread Man. That game certainly had more heart….just a little more, but that’s good enough.