Kim Possible: What's The Switch?

Year: 2006
Platform: PlayStation 2
Publisher: Buena Vista Games
Genre: Action
Review Date: 10/20/10
Rating: **

An unremarkable outing for Disney's Kim Possible, highlighted only by its excellent voice acting and superb soundtrack. When the fiendish Dr. Drakken tries to steal an ancient artifact, it causes him and Ron Stoppable to switch bodies. Before they can sort this mess out, Monkey Fist runs off with the artifact, leaving Kim Possible and Shego to form a shaky alliance in order to retrieve the relic.

The game is a standard old-school run-jump-punch-kick platformer that should be a lot more fun than it actually is. Unfortunately, the sluggish controls cause a lot of frustration and make precision jumping very difficult. Kim's floaty jumps are hard to control and it's never clear what surfaces can be grappled and how close you need to be to grapple them. It's basically a 2D side scrolling game, but the environments are rendered in 3D. While the third dimension adds depth, it's frustrating not being able to move in and out of the scenery, especially when you're forced to go over obstacles when it looks like you should be able to go around them instead. The game is also ugly. It tries to maintain a colorful and cartoony look, but being rendered in 3D makes the world look like it's constructed from giant blocks. The graphics definitely improve as the game proceeds, or perhaps that's because you get used to the sparse and garish visual themes. The 3D rendered cutscenes are also unattractive and the cel-shaded characters are plagued with unclean lines.

Kim and Shego have a number of punch and kick attacks at their disposal to deal with evil henchmen and a variety of ninja monkey robots, but combat is generally uninteresting. It can also be extremely frustrating when multiple enemies are simultaneously attacking, which turns the game into a frantic button mashing exercise. The game is moderately challenging, but there are several instant death areas that eat up multiple lives before you can figure out how to get past them. Fortunately, the game is riddled with dozens of extra life tokens, and I never had to worry about running out. In addition to clearing missions, the game adds extra value by having tokens to collect which can unlock bonus artwork, music tracks, and extra costumes for Kim and Shego to wear. These can be extremely tricky to track down, and as the game wore on I was much more interested in making progress rather than hunting for secret items.

On the plus side, being a Disney game the voice acting is superb, featuring many of the same voice actors from the animated series. Only Ron's voice seemed noticeably off. The soundtrack is excellent, featuring catchy James Bond inspired spy music that you'll find yourself humming long after the game is over. I would love to have a CD of the soundtrack, but ripping tracks out of the game sounds like too much work to me. Plus, I'd have to go through the game again and unlock all of the music tracks, which sounds like an unpleasant chore. Overall I found "Kim Possible: What's The Switch?" mildly entertaining, but with a little more polish it could have been a much better experience. However, I'm sure it would be hard to justify the extra effort given that the target demographic is 6-12 year old girls.