Clearing tables was never THIS much fun at TGI Friday's.
You may be familiar with Hilary Duff's popular TV show, Lizzie McGuire. This show was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a GBA licensed title, called 'Lizzie McGuire: On the Go!'. The game received average scores, but sold well enough to warrant a sequel. Lizzie McGuire 2: Lizzie Diaries is that sequel.
While I haven't seen the show properly, I know enough about it to know that it's live action with a cartoon Lizzie voicing her thoughts as things happen. A2M have wisely chosen the cartoon Lizzie for their entire graphic style, as this gives them a lot more leeway in having things happen to Lizzie. For example, when waterskiing, cartoon Lizzie can get eaten by sharks. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't be allowed to do that if basing the graphics on Hilary Duff, but you never know.
Although Lizzie McGuire's graphics are simple, they are not plain. Levels are clear and enemies are easy to distinguish, which can often be a problem in a license-based game. The game has personality, too -- if Lizzie loses all her health in the first level, a stormcloud will appear and begin to rain on her. It will then electrocute her with a lightning bolt, turning her to ash. Other comical deaths include being hit by a Lizzie-sized glob of mashed potatoes, drowning in a pool of tears, being trampled by rampaging cheerleaders, and being yanked off-screen by a cartoon-style cane -- now THAT'S style.
The game itself is based on three days of Lizzie's life. Each 'day' is made up of four varying mini-games (although some styles of mini-game do repeat during the three days). A few are simplified versions of other games, such as Excitebike with a Moped, a Double Dragon-esque Food Fight game and Cheerleading Practice done in a Dance Dance Revolution style. Then there are light versions of sports games, such as Volleyball and Badminton. A couple of platforming stages are peppered throughout the game, but these aren't too bad and are broken up by the other mini-games. The mini-game I most had fun with was a "Waiting Tables" game. It sounds incredibly dull, but stay with me. Lizzie has to work in a spaghetti bar -- at the counter are cutlery and spaghetti refills. Lizzie can only carry three of either spaghetti or cutlery at a time. It's up to you to alternate between setting and clearing tables as customers rapidly enter. Naturally, it begins at a slow pace, but in the later stages the restaurant is full of tables and customers appearing non-stop. It's a really great game, and A2M really deserves praise for it. It's a real shame that you can't play an endless mode of it for a high score, because it's quite addictive.
Although there aren't too many different music tracks for the game, there's enough variety in them to continue to be appealing while you play. They also perform their task of suiting the Lizzie McGuire theme quite well. Sounds are pretty good -- much like the rest of the game, they have a lighthearted cartoony tone, whether it be the clanking of cutlery, the clichéd running sound from a cartoon, or the chomping noise that you hear from sharks as you near them. If you should be unfortunate enough to hit a buoy while waterskiing, you'll also hear a loud "BONG!" as you whack into it, which I find riotously amusing every time, for some reason.
Lizzie McGuire 2: Lizzie Diaries does a great job at capturing the spirit of the show. Graphics and sound suit the game well, and there is an assortment of different mini-games to keep you interested. The only real problem with the game is that it's extremely short (my game clock read just over one hour once I'd finished everything) and there doesn't appear to be any real reason to go back to the game once you've finished it. However, those looking for a Lizzie McGuire game will be rewarded with a pretty good one, while it lasts.