Does this review really need to tell you just what The Smurfs are? No matter your age, you’re going to have some knowledge of the little blue critters. Be it the comic origins by Belgian artist Peyo, the cartoon TV series of the 80s, the many movies, toys, theme parks and more. The Smurfs is a a long-running franchise, one that has even seen various video games released under the banner.
The latest is The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf, developed by OSome Studios and published by Microids. Get ready to Smurf until you drop, something Smurfy is going on and it’s up to The Smurfs to find out and put a stop to it.
The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf is a 3D platformer set in the colourful and whimsical world of The Smurfs. Where an unknown infection has spread throughout the land, transforming the plant life, and giving birth to the Vileaf. This plant attracts Smurfs and captures them inside ready for the evil wizard Gargamel to collect.
It’s not exactly a spoiler to reveal that Gargamel is behind the creation of the Vileaf. After all, he is the ‘big bad’ of the franchise.
Playing as one of four Smurfs, you must cure the land, defeat the Vileaf and stop Gargamel from creating more. To help you do this, Handy Smurf has created a new device called the ‘Smurfizer’.
This device is basically a combination of F.L.U.D.D from Super Mario Sunshine and a hoover. The Smurf carries it on their back and holds a hose. Its main use is to transform vegetation back to normal but with upgrades, it becomes a much more versatile bit of kit. Eventually helping you hover, get sudden speed boosts, suck up enemies and more. Upgrades that help your Smurf overcome many of the platforming challenges that face it.
If you’ve played a 3D platformer ever, you’ll find yourself instantly at home here. The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf takes the well-worn formula and doesn’t change a thing. However, that’s not a problem as the game does it really, really well. Not just with good controls, deep and detailed levels, collectibles, and upgrades, but with rich and striking visuals. This game looks lovely and credit to the developers for putting so much effort in.
Though they can only do so much with the 3D platform novelty which does wear thin after a while. Of course, there are plenty of areas in levels that are initially inaccessible with collectibles on those paths, meaning you will have to come back when you have the right upgrade. This is the sort of thing that becomes tedious, replaying every level to get those last collectibles and will be a massive turn-off for many. It doesn’t help that there is no map or indicator for collectibles and these levels can be quite big.
If you’re after 100% completion, then you’re going to spend a fair chunk of time in this world. Although, even if you’re just playing through from start to finish, you’ll get a couple of good hours out of the game.
What is particularly interesting is the difficulty curve and The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf has an excellent one. While it is aimed at a younger audience, enemies are laughably pointless, the game can get quite tricky. Later levels will test all your skills and while there isn’t much punishment for dying, you might be surprised to find it happening more than you expected.
It might frustrate younger players (in particular, the level where you’re chased by Gargamel) but older players will appreciate the challenge.
The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf (Xbox Series X)
The Final Score - 7/10