With Lizzie wearing platform shoes all the time, you think she'd know what genre to stick to.
Lizzie McGuire, the other half of Disney's TV-for-young-girls line-up, returns in this sequel to the sequel of the original GBA game. This time round, Lizzie has ditched her platforming roots in favour of a Wario Ware-style escapade, with many short arcade challenges loosely tied together by an opening animation and an ending animation.
The plot is as follows: one day, Lizzie is confronted by her evil rival (she looks almost like Lizzie, but sadly there's no moustache to help indicate that she's the evil one). Their witty banter goes something along the lines of:
Evil Lizzie: What do you think of becoming Homecoming Queen, Good Lizzie?
Good Lizzie: Well, I am fairly indifferent towards it, as I do not really have a need for such shallow reinforcements of my own insecurity.
Evil Lizzie: Yeah, I figured you would spout some incoherent gibberish like that. Anyway, I just popped in (EVILLY) to inform you that I'M going to be Homecoming Queen this year because everyone loves me, even you, who I loathe with the deepest depths of my black, black heart and wish that a thousand maggoty worms would devour your flesh while you were standing here right in front of me. Oh, and also you smell, like really bad. What do you do, sleep in a trashcan or something?
Good Lizzie: Oh, Evil Lizzie, I take your painful jibes with a positive outlook on life and a fresh peppermint. I now have a sudden urge to enter the Homecoming Pageant to make you look like a complete and utter flibbertigibbet. And it's not a trashcan, it's a dumpster, thank you very much. There's a WORLD of difference.*
*Note: Story has been slightly altered for the sake of the review.
With that, the player is thrust into the game. In each level, the player must complete ten mini-games, with two of them being labelled a "Stumble Round" game, and a "Friendship Round" game. (This, however, means nothing; they play exactly the same.) Once completing these ten games, the player squares off against Evil Lizzie in a dance competition of epic proportions! In this mode, arrows scroll from left to right into a square. The player must press the appropriate button when the arrow scrolls into the square, repeating enough times to fill up a bar until the game ends. It's all straightforward, and fairly lenient so as not to frustrate younger gamers.
The mini-games, however, are another matter. Similar to Wario Ware, before each mini-game, there is a short description of what you must do. However, unlike Wario Ware, which gives you a short one-word description for each game, such as "Shake!" or "Eat!", you are instead given a description related to the type of game it is. Descriptions such as "Aim it", "Avoid" and "Counterbalance" are okay, but then you get incredibly vague stuff like "Multi-Move", "Do It", and "Hodgepodge". Seriously. Hodgepodge? HODGEPODGE? What the hell is that? The manual states that a Hodgepodge game can either be a "Multi-Tap, In-Motion, Rapid Tap, or Time Tap game". If that's the case, why not give it that description instead of trying to be tricky and instead coming off as vague? Or, better yet, why not just give the games normal descriptions?
One game has Lizzie in a bath with a rubber duckie that needs to get to the finish line. Instead of seeing "Swim!" or "Race!", you're shown "Rapid Tap". Aside from the fact that it sounds incredibly dull, it takes away some of the best parts of Wario Ware, which was that you had to figure out how to play these mini-games that were coming at you thick and fast. I don't mind if you're going to rip off Wario Ware, but do it properly so that the game is fun to play.
The graphics for the game are very strange, and I don't mean that they're amusing and funny. Instead, I mean that certain sections have nice art (such as the menus, with their seventies floral patterns and crazy star themes), but then the mini-games, which are the main part of the game, often have reused art -- so much so that sometimes you'll swear that you'll have played the same game three times before -- and the animation is really, really awful.
One game has you shaking a soda can - when it pops and the soda is on its way to splashing on the guy's face, you'll see a cloud of soda suddenly appear next to the can, then disappear and reappear next to the guy's face, then disappear, with the guy now having soda dripping on his face. Quite frankly, I've seen amateur flash movies with better in-between animations than this. Whatever the reason, something needs to be done to make future games look better than this, because this is the kind of problem I'd expect to see in an 8-bit system, not a 32-bit system.
Homecoming Havoc is a game with really low production - you can see that this one hasn't had much time spent on it, and I couldn't really recommend it to anyone - even fans of the show. Go for the much more fun Lizzie McGuire 2: Lizzie Diaries if you want to play a Lizzie game. It's still short, but it's much more entertaining.