Ever since the quirky and lovable Muppets hit the TV screens in the mid 70’s, they have enchanted and entertained the young and old alike. Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo and friends have charmed us all with their witty sense of humor and lively musicals. The popularity of the Muppets has taken them past TV shows, movie screens, recording studios, print media, toy stores and now, onto the mobile gaming scene. Disney, who has steadily been porting all their popular cartoon creations onto the mobile platform (Where’s My Mickey?, Where’s My Perry?) certainly have their task out, given the popularity of this franchise. Will the Muppets be able to hold their own in the mobile space or will Disney crush their spirits with their gaming strategy. Let’s find out.
Setting the Stage
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, the quirky Muppet inventor designs an elaborate contraption, the Muppets Lab Digitizer, that digitizes Muppets and transports them on to a cyber stage. Your job is to hop onto the Market and recruit the band members who will then be digitized and placed on the theatre stage to deliver their grand performance. That’s not all. There are plenty of tasks that need to be done to get the stage in working order. That means clearing up heaps of garbage bags, mopping buckets, cones and unwanted items and adding decorative items, structures, and other theatrical designs to create a superb jazzy look for the ultimate finale.
The first three stages in the game are tutorial based, to familiarize you with the game basics, and thereafter you can keep checking in with Scooter who will guide you through your various missions. As you complete missions you earn gold, XP points, foodie points, and in some cases even diamonds. Initially, you use the in-game currency to pick up characters such as the legendary drummer Animal, the pianist Rowlf the Dog, and husky crooner Sam Eagle. The rest of the Muppets have to be purchased using premium currency diamonds. Diamonds are virtually impossible to earn in-game and have to be purchased using real world cash or by exchanging a virtually impossible amount of gold coins.( 17,500 coins for 50 diamonds: Yikes!)
Once you’ve added Muppets to the stage, you have to feed them. This can be done by purchasing a concession stand and ordering items off its menu. The more you feed the Muppets the more happy they are and the more gold coins you earn off them. Coins in turn can be used to buy items to prop up the stage. You rinse and repeat the process, until you’ve got your grand musical collection of characters and settings. There’s quite a bit of interesting elements in the game such as the robotic character HARV-E, who lets you combine two level-four Muppets to create an unknown Muppet character. Statler and Waldorf, also make an appearance with some witty one-liners. They also play theater audience and throw roses onto the stage, which when picked up convert into coins. There are also several hidden items you can pick up as you level up in the game.
Some Jarring Notes
All this process however, happens in real time… I mean a really slow time. You can speed things up a bit with diamonds, but since they are premium currency, you won’t want to waste them away so quickly. Hence you wait. Character and item upgrades also become very expensive as you level up. Since gold coins are earned at a much slower pace, you find yourself waiting for hours just to do a two second activity, before having to wait some more. Even clearing up garbage involves time or money, so you are basically left with little or no choice but to drag out the game play. Another huge annoyance in the game is the non-stop repeat-mode jam session that starts to grate your ears after awhile. You can mute the characters, but that only makes the whole gaming exercise a futile task and belittles the musical inspiration that the game should be all about.
The gala music extravaganza that is promised in the game never materializes even after 10 levels of play. My only conclusion is that you’ll just have to put up with all the Yapa-dum-pums until you’ve got the entire collection of Muppets on stage, which will probably take forever. On the bright side, the game’s graphics are simply awesome. You can zoom in to get a closer view of your favorite characters jamming or shaking a leg to the energetic music. The animations are also brilliant and watching the individual characters and their various expressions are a charm.
Overall, My Muppets Show is a theatrical extravaganza that will either make you a patron saint of patience, or leave a gaping hole in your pocket. If you are a die-hard Muppet fan, you may just give these guys a chance, but if you’re looking for a better SIM experience, I’m sure you’ll be checking out plenty of other great alternatives out there, though you may not find one so musically-inclined as this one.