South Park Mega Millionaire


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South Park Mega Millionaire Review

It might come of some surprise that Real Networks’ latest crack at the South Park franchise isn’t actually tied to a single episode. Though Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s intentionally odious opus is hardly lacking in material, South Park Mega Millionaire is less of an attempt to mirror a set story and more of a move to capture the general ethos of the show, packing it into what could be an entertaining platformer in its own right.

And that, dressing aside, is what Mega Millionaire is. Taking control of Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny one by one, you guide them through 24 levels that come with items to collect, ledges to jump between and plenty of enemies to avoid. Set in a crazy Japanese game show, the challenges are designed to entertain the show’s live studio audience and, quite bizarrely, cause you a fair amount of pain as you try to cross the finish line.

Yep, that’s a tortoise.

Despite this typically bizarre staging, it’s all actually fairly standard stuff. With control of Cartman and co. handed over to the iPhone’s accelerometer, South Park’s leads play each stage with roller skates strapped to their feet, so tipping the phone becomes the key component of play. Tilting it left or right just enough to get them moving is the difference between success and failure, otherwise known as drowning in a pool of green gunk.

In terms of balance, the accelerometer is pitched perfectly, movement always feeling entirely under your control, even when the levels are caked in slippery pig fat. Yes, Mega Millionaire isn’t afraid to steamroll right over convention in order to acclimatise itself with the South Park universe. Along the way, you’ll encounter grown men dressed up as rabbits, giant falling Japanese school girls in need of rescue, and rolling sticks of sushi heading towards you.

These peculiarities aside, passing each test sometimes requires more than picking up a token or two. For instance, you’ll be asked to serve four “old masters” cups of tea (naturally from a tea pot strapped to your head), or bash your head enough times to give you a concussion. These additional targets add an extra element or two to the standard play.

E Honda slap.

While there’s no clock to battle against, South Park Mega Millionaire is often a matter of leaping from ledge to ledge (via a swift tap to the iPhone’s screen) at pace. There are elements that relate back to platformers of old here. For instance, the impetus to pull off a set number of jumps at a set speed in order to avoid falling to your death really echoes the Sonic games of the early 90s. The fact that Real Networks has been able to apply this platforming 101 to the kind of lighthearted and off-the-wall approach South Park is known for is even more of an accomplishment.

But it can’t be denied that South Park Mega Millionaire feels a little short. While the bite-sized nature of the levels is part of the game’s appeal, the fact that there aren’t another 24 or so added on for good measure means this is the kind of challenge that can be met within an hour or two, if that. While the depth of play will surprise newcomers and the subtle hints at South Park humor will delight fans in equal measure, this isn’t quite the full package as it stands. But it certainly puts to bed any notion that licensed titles can’t be packed with quality in their own right.

South Park Mega Millionaire Hands-On

Longtime South Park viewers will remember that the show has skewered both game shows (Randy Marsh’s unintentionally racist appearance on Wheel of Fortune) and Japanese pop culture (the classic Chinpokomon and Mecha Streisand episodes). An upcoming game from RealNetworks takes another swat at these two topics with a wacky Japanese game show starring Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny.

While it’s missing some of the more extreme humor of the show, South Park Mega Millionaire does attempt to be somewhat clever in its level design and challenges. You take control of one of the South Park boys, who must navigate a series of platforms and obstacles on roller skates. This bizarre twist (we’ve never seen the South Park boys wear roller skates in twelve years on the air) allows for some tricky tilt-based control.

On some levels, you have to perform humbling tasks like serving tea to old masters or wearing a turtle on your head. On others, the track is greased with slippery oil or lined with giant fans that blow you around wildly. Throughout the 25 challenges, you’ll also have to complete “misfortune challenges” that are randomly assigned by spinning a giant wheel, and include handicaps like reduced damage bonuses or slippery skates.

In Story Mode, your pink-haired host will berate you in broken English every time a misstep causes you to fall into a giant vat of soy sauce or green goo. To some extent, the juvenile South Park attitude is present, as the boys will snap right back at their host, except for Kenny, who just mumbles inside his parka.

In each challenge, you can pick up cash to achieve a high score by the end of the game, or collect up to three Yen tokens. The Yen tokens, if you collect them all, will unlock a bonus time trial mode, and in pass-and-play multiplayer mode, tokens will let you advance through challenges faster than your opponent. Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be online leaderboards to share your single-player score online.

While the premise of Mega Millionaire is totally ridiculous, one feature stood out: achievements. Named after memorable moments in the South Park series, these could be a good way to encourage players to revisit parts of the game. One trophy is named after Mr. Garrison’s obscene mode of transportation “IT”, and another is named after the monkey with four asses.

While it’s not based on a particular episode, South Park Mega Millionaire is an original platformer, with quality graphics featuring characters that are very close to the show’s style. While we hadn’t ever considered these sarcastic boys roller skating before, the game offers a pretty interesting interpretation of such a spectacle. For the level design and achievements especially, this is a game that South Park devotees might want to consider when it comes out in September.

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