Overview of the Game
In this game, the player directs the movements of cartoon versions of Rebecca and Cecil, the two kids who star in the movie. This brother and sister duo becomes Spy Kids heroes to take on the evil Timekeeper, a character who is stealing time away from everyone and threatening to take over the planet.
The Spy Kids must navigate complex environments, some which are found in the movie, filled with floating platforms, conveyor belts, air vents, electric floors as well as bad guys and super-villains. They also get to fly jet luges through enemy-infested skies and can shoot lasers at baddies and obstacles. Additionally, the game has levels where the player must memorize sequences of pushing buttons found on the DS to "hack" computer terminals.
How to Play
While playing a game filled with cool spy gadgets is inherently fun, this Spy Kids game isn’t going to win any awards for innovation. What it does offer is solid side-scrolling platform-puzzling with the character of Rebecca using a grappling hook so she can swing between expanses and the character of Cecil wielding the double-jump in mid-air to reach high up places. Each character has an arsenal of weapons including Cecil's Electromagnetic Uppercut that packs a wallop of a punch and Rebecca's Flame Bomb.
This game is presented in 2D, with some tutorials at the beginning. Even with this instruction, kids may find the backgrounds of these environment puzzles confusing because it is hard to tell which things in the background can be run through and which ones will stop your progress.
23 Levels of Gameplay
There are 23 unlockable levels, which rotate between platform puzzling, driving the jet luge and completing the memory sequences. The memory sequences are quite easy with some being as simple as pushing the "A" button and then the "X" button. The jet luge levels are also relatively straightforward with players using the control pad to navigate to the floating gems (that earn you points) while avoiding obstacles and shooting at henchmen. However, the platform-puzzling levels require a fair amount of gaming skill. Kids need to be good at timing jumps and are required to jump an expanse while shooting a grappling hook at a small space above. Since precision is required, players will occasionally miss the grappling hook connection. Unfortunately, that error frequently results in your falling all the way back down to the beginning and then having to platform-jump your way back to where you miscalculated. Each platforming level takes a fair amount of time to traverse (30-50 minutes) and if you stop in the middle, you will lose all your progress in that level and have to start over.
Some kids love these kinds of difficult challenges and don't mind replaying the environmental puzzles if they mess up. For others, this kind of unforgiving platforming game can create frustration.
A few of the levels contain what is known as “Boss Battles” where kids will run into a specific character who is hard to defeat. Kids must study the boss and access its weakness before fighting it. For example, the Spy Kids will have to defeat the Super Goon, a giant muscular character who throws punches. If you slide under him to avoid his hitting you, you will see that he periodically stands still to catch his breath. When this happens, you must sneak in and punch him so as to drain his health meter.
Lots of Violence in this "E" Rated Game
Even though this game is rated “E” by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), it isn't a good fit for the youngest gamer for two reasons. First, it requires precision platform-jumping that isn’t very forgiving and it has infrequent save points within the long platforming levels. Second, it contains a fair amount of cartoon violence. Kids will need to punch or throw bombs at human guards, robots and goons. For families looking to keep violence out of their children's gameplay, this isn't a good choice.
For kids ages 8 and up who love the movie, Spy Kids: All the Time in the World might be a fun rental for a weekend. Otherwise enjoy the movie and skip this middling movie-based game.
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