The Smurfs 2 The Prisoner of the Green Stone New PS5 Review – Launching on PC and Consoles Microids and IMPS bring the classic franchise back with this 3D adventure platformer to the fans as well as new players.
The launch trailer offers a peek into the narrative surrounding the Green Stone, a powerful object that also holds a fearsome threat, Stolas, a creature capable of causing mayhem. The Smurfs will need to rely on SmurfoMix and its extraordinary abilities, which players will unlock as they progress through the game, to rescue the Cursed Land. Basically, another normal day in the world of The Smurfs.
The Smurfs 2 The Prisoner of the Green Stone New PS5 Review – I may be clumsy but at least I’m not boring.
The Smurfs 2 The Prisoner of the Green Stone revolves around Handy Smurf’s innovative invention, SmurfoMix. However, it lacks a crucial ingredient, the Green Stone, currently in the greedy grasp of Gargamel. A mission to retrieve the stone from Gargamel’s laboratory goes awry, causing an explosion that scatters the Green Stone’s fragments throughout the Cursed Land.
This mishap not only releases its incredible power to replicate and break down matter but also frees the malevolent Stolas, a new entity determined to spread terror. A group of four Smurfs then embarks on an adventure to save the Cursed Land from the formidable Stolas. They can count on the SmurfoMix and an unexpected ally, Gargamel himself!
It is easy to see that Smurf games from the 80’s and 90’s (according to my husband as I am obviously not old enough to remember) had been developed under quite strict guidelines under licence. Most took the shape of simple side scrollers closely mimicking the harmless 80’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Thankfully these days are long gone, and we can now be treated to a little violence. We have come a long way from having to rescue Smurfette by jumping over woodland creatures and avoiding falling acorns.
The Smurfs 2 The Prisoner of the Green Stone New PS5 Review – Being Different is what makes us special.
Throughout the first world in the game, the Smurfomix abilities are slowly introduced to us. The default purpose is to fire green shards to cleanse the emerald slime pools left in Stolas’ wake. Obviously, it serves other purposes as well otherwise the game would be relatively boring. Collect glowing seed pods and you can use Honey which will weigh down seesaw platforms and gunk up waterfalls and Electrical charges pull and push blocks into place. More often than not you will have to scour the land to find the right ammo type in order to progress.
These abilities also come into battle as you would expect as the game is more combat focussed than you would probably expect. Electricity will tie Stolas’ minions and harm them whilst Honey will stick them in place. Each of the four Smurfs that you can control have their own unique ability as well which if used correctly can wipe out numerous enemies at once.
The Smurfs 2 The Prisoner of the Green Stone New PS5 Review – A good dead never goes unpunished, my little Smurfs.
The problem with the game is that although in theory the new gameplay sounds great it does get repetitive very fast. The story is set over 3 worlds each with their own zones, but despite the different settings, they soon blur into one another. There is no variation in gameplay through the areas. The only variety I could spot was that in one zone there are strong winds that you need to contend with when jumping and another with slippery slopes. That was it!
Each stage does have various objectives, but these just boil down to chasing after Stolas whilst following landscape ruining crystals. This kind of makes the quest log rather redundant. The level design is quite good but the biggest flaw that I found was although you can upgrade your Smurfomix with improvements in fire rate and increasing ammo damage, the combat become very tedious with the repetition of the same couple of enemies. In most cases you will have to defeat up to 50 enemies to open up the next area. Once you get to the end of each are Stolas will show up and you have to defeat him.
These battles don’t differ much between each one. You have to repeatedly hit his weak spot whilst avoiding him firing at you. Once you beat him once it’s the same in all the other battles including the final one.
After that final battle, there is some replay value with the game for those who are completionists. Challenge portals appear during the game each lasting up to 6 minutes in battle and any that are missed can be retried. Upgrades for the Smurfomix can also easily be missed and as the end game gives you a breakdown of what you have missed. To complete the challenge rooms, you will need a fully upgraded backpack and maxed out abilities, something you can work toward.
The Smurfs 2 The Prisoner of the Green Stone New PS5 Review – It’s not about being the best, it’s about doing your best
The games palette isn’t brilliant like it has been in previous games, by that I mean that previous entries have gone for visually striking colours with a bold clash of red, green and blue; this time round they have opted for a more muted palette with shades of turquoise. This leaves the visuals looking quite boring and also allows some scrappy textures to shine through distracting from the gameplay.
On the plus side, the controls are intuitive with shooting mechanics feeling proficient enough. Checkpoints are well spaced so that if you do falter you don’t get dropped straight back to where you die. The use of some great lines from the Smurfs add to enjoyment, but the game gets boring before you hit the halfway point and is nowhere near as good as previous games.
That all said, 7 hours to complete the first run through was more than enough time for the game. Thank goodness it didn’t drag on any longer.