Scooby's latest portable outing has a good foundation, but misses the mark in some key spots.
Scooby-Doo and the Spooky Swamp for the DS, the second Scooby-Doo game from developer Torus Games, is a very good beat-'em-up that features fun gameplay and lots of collectables, but a few annoying problems make it inferior to the similar Wii version.
The game puts you in the shoes of the five members of Mystery Inc. as you set out to solve three different mysteries that are all linked together. At first, you take control of Scooby and Shaggy, who exemplify the two types of characters in the game; Scooby is a melee fighter, and Shaggy is a ranged fighter. After a quick tutorial level, you take control of the whole five-member gang, though you only control two at one time. In the Wii version, this is where the drop-in/drop-out multiplayer comes into play, but in the portable version, you're left to play with a computer-controlled ally that you can switch places with at will.
To solve different puzzles along the way, you'll have to switch between characters using a clumsy menu system that takes several seconds to load. Since every level is packed with specific things each character can interact with, this is almost unforgivable. There is just simply too much loading and downtime, and it kills the pacing of the game.
Luckily, aside from that glaring miscue, the game is a lot of fun. The mildly repetitious brawling gameplay is pleasantly interrupted by searching for clues, collectables, and more. It's an entertaining romp, and the variety of puzzles and entertaining mini-game-like distractions keep up a good pace throughout the entire affair.
It has a number of nice Scooby touches, such as the chase scenes and the fact that you have to finger the perpetrator at the end of each mystery. All together, it makes for a good experience, but it is nearly exactly the same as the Wii version, which is far better since it has co-op and none of the terrible load times. If you only have a DS and love Scooby and the gang, it's worth it, but if you have the option to play the game on Wii, you're much better off playing that version.