Also on: PS4, Nintendo Switch, PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X
Developer: OSome Studio
While I wouldn’t say I went into The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone with enormously high expectations, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have some expectations for it. After all, The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf was a surprisingly decent 3D platformer, so I was expecting its sequel to be solid, if not quite GOTY, material.
While The Smurfs 2 is definitely that, it’s also a step down from Mission Vileaf. Admittedly, it’s been a few years since I played Mission Vileaf, so I could be forgetting something, but I don’t remember it having quite so much shooting in it, nor the kind of massive, unending levels that we have here. Because those are the two things that really stand out for me in The Prisoner of the Green Stone – and not necessarily in a good way.
The size of the levels is, admittedly, hardly a massive strike against the game. It’s probably good that the game offers as much to do as it does. But at the same time, you reach a point where it feels like you’ve been doing the same thing in the same environments for ages, and you start to wish for a bit more variety. Every level in The Smurfs 2 feels like it goes well beyond that point.
This is probably because even if the worlds were smaller, you’d still face the issue of the action being awfully repetitive. It feels like you’re constantly running into small armies of enemies, all of which are bullet sponges, and you spend a couple of minutes firing away until you finish them off and can unlock the next area. That’s true of the game regardless of how easy you put the difficulty, too; while you gradually upgrade your weapon to a point where it can take out some enemies quickly, the basic strategy never changes from “keep shooting until they’re all gone.”
It’s a shame, because apart from the surprising amount of gunplay (or whatever you want to call these weapons), the platforming in Smurfs 2 is still pretty solid. Even if the levels last a little too long, they’re still fun to explore, and even if none of the environmental puzzles are a huge challenge, they’re enough to ensure you never feel like you’re just moving directly from Point A to Point B.
But the incredibly dull combat is enough to make The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone a clear step down from Mission Vileaf. You could do a lot worse, for sure, but its predecessor shows you can definitely do better, too.
Microids provided us with a Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone PS5 code for review purposes.