Reviewed by Jimmy | 01.29.07
Internally developed Barnyard collects on Nickelodeons animated picture bringing the farm comedy to the next generation of gamers. Porting the Gamecube version, Barnyard takes advantage of the Nintendo Wii's unique controls in this odd tale of talking and walking farm animals.
I never had the chance to check out the movie Barnyard when it was released in August of 2006. Even though I haven't seen the movie I'm assured THQ has done an adequate job bringing the characters over from the picture to the game. I remember the commercials with the wisecracking cow taunting the mailman and playing tricks on the humans. It's all good for a laugh or two and this is the same approach Blue Tongue has with the game. Fun; light hearted and enjoyable for everyone under the sun. Although I am surprised to see the "Everyone 10+" tag on the box because Barnyard is pretty tame, and definitely nothing you can't see in other gamers or animated films.
Following the recent trend of the last few years Barnyard is a semi-free roaming game where the player can go through on their own leisure. This is a smart movie for the younger gamers because sometimes the fun is hidden in their imaginations just running around making up stories. When you get into the game, the design, plot and controls are dummied down and can be easily understood. After a few minutes its clear THQ is going for a no brain enjoyable experience and on that key they succeed.
Barnyard which was also released for the Nintendo Gamecube is a basic looking creature and it is clear the only re-developing THQ did for the Wii version was the control scheme. I even noticed some choppy moments in the graphics at times which really took me by surprise given the basic design of the game. Barnyard has a real flat basic look without much detail which is fine given the young target audience. Barnyard actually reminded me of THQs Tasmanian star Ty even though the games don't share the same development team. I'd even go as far as to say, if you enjoyed the Ty games you will like this Nickelodeon barn buster.
The story behind Barnyard puts the spirit of humans into animals with the premise that we, humans don't know that animals talk, walk and act just like us. Original? Not in the slightest, but that doesn't stop Barnyard from creating its own fun. It's too bad they did capture more voice work from the movie or even snag up an actor or two because Barnyard feels empty with the lack of voices moving the plot forward. The plot itself is weak and it could use any extra help it could get.
The zany world of Barnyard doesn't have to make sense as long as its fun and Barnyard will have you running around trying to keep up with each character. The game has a number of activities that will keep you busy, like blasting animals with your udders, dancing behind the mailman or helping gather items for your fellow barnyard companions. Barnyard is basically a number of mini-games strung together providing a few moments of fun, although not much substance.
The controls using the Wii remote don't benefit the gameplay in Barnyard, it's an obvious after thought tacked on. I would rather have a normal controller for Barnyard, but for what they did it works. The controls seem to have a good flow and come of fairly standard if you've played other Wii games. For example the drives has you tilt your Wiimote sideways like other racing games to make the controller seem like a wheel, another example of the Wiimotes use is when you slingshot the chicken, you pull back and let go, like you would do in real life. Again, this is becoming standard affair on the Wii and Barnyard stays on familiar ground.
One funny fact about Barnyard is the "Male Cow" goof which has male cows with udders, which they obviously don't have in real life. This isn't just in the game because the movie makes the same error. I hope the Nickelodeon team knew about this and added it as a joke because otherwise it would seem like a blatantly dumb mistake.
Barnyard will keep the kids busy for hours which should be enough to make any parent pick up a copy of the game, although the extra $20 for the Wii version is a little pricey. Barnyard is the typical THQ movie based game adaptation that has a lot of different genres crammed into the game, in this case the barn. Don't expect miracles, just a fun sand boxed movie based game that can hold your attention for a short while.
Gameplay: 6, Graphics/Sound: 4.5, Innovation: 5, Mojo: 6. Final: 5.5 / 10
Varied and Simple Gameplay, Open World, Characters from Movie
Cow Gender bender, No Voiceovers, Graphical performance
All your favorite Barnyard characters from the movie
Replayable action-packed games based on the wild antics of Otis
Open-world gameplay through areas seen in the movie
Unique controller functions - steering cars, swinging golf clubs, throwing darts, shooting a tomato gun at coyotes, and more
Up-rez'd graphics including 60 fps, progressive scan, and widescreen support
All-new mini-games and customization options