Nacho Libre Review

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Publisher: Majesco
Developer: Budcat Creations

Platform: DS
Reviewed on DS

Nacho is a cook of meager abilities for a Mexican orphanage, but his godly calling as a friar wars every day with his urge to become a great luchador – as a famous and wealthy wrestler, Nacho could bestow his largesse upon the poor children he served for so long.

Kyle Ackerman

Naaachooooooo! That's the battle cry of 2006's most ridiculous hero, an incompetent luchador portrayed by actor Jack Black in the film Nacho Libre. With the release of the Nacho Libre video game, Majesco has brought us a game for the DS, based on the film that gave us lines such as "I hate all the orphans – all the orphans in the world!"

In the case of this movie-based game, the only thing appealing about the game is the movie itself. Progress in the game is rewarded with scenes from the movie, but Nacho fans would be better off simply renting the DVD. The game offers little in the way of appealing play to gamers of any age.

While graphics aren't the entirety of a game, they still count for something, and Nacho Libre's graphics are rough and outdated. The best-looking portions of the game are the clever menu screens. From the opening screen, showing a hand reaching for dangling toys, to the stylized screens that let players select locations, the menus are impressive. Sadly, the play graphics, from the mini-games to the wrestling ring, are painfully outdated, and look like an adequately crafted GBA game transferred to one of the DS unit's two screens. It can be painful to watch the blocky Nacho character navigate from place to place, and cut scenes that aren't directly lifted from the film are even stranger. The developer appears to have captured screens from the film, and then separated characters' heads, animating those static images as bobble-head dolls. In fact, Nacho Libre sports more bobble-headed friars and nuns than any other game.

At its core, Nacho Libre is a wrestling game. But not a good wrestling game. Unpleasant graphics aside, the wrestling engine is unbelievably simple. There are a variety of conventional wrestling moves and combos for matches (many of which must be unlocked), but these are entirely unnecessary. Every match can (and often must) be won by grappling, turning the wrestling into a mad, "y"-button mashing dash versus your opponent. AI opponents can't pound "y" very fast.

The simplicity of the combat engine and the license might identify this as a game for children, but it doesn't work well for kids either. The controls are "mushy," and only respond haphazardly to the DS unit's directional pad. There are also mini-games to break up the monotony and increase Nacho's abilities. These are very simple games such as throwing a basketball into a makeshift hoop, avoiding cows while trying to accelerate enough to jump a ravine, jumping angry bulls or swatting bees. These should be entertaining, but the mini-games also don't respond well to the DS controls. Especially when compared with the many successful mini-games on the DS (like WarioWare: Touched!), Nacho Libre's games seem primitive.

With the best part of the game being the film excerpts and the menus, and the play itself ugly, unresponsive and tiresome, everyone is better off watching the film and ignoring the game.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on December 24, 2006 6:43 PM.

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