I’ve admittedly never seen The Amazing World of Gumball, so hopefully that won’t tarnish this review, or blind me to any clever references. While it seemed like a competently made kid’s show, there was no getting over the fact that it was, well, precisely that. A kid’s show. I’m too rigid in my machismo to fawn over something merely charming, I need substance, people! Agent Gumball is basically a game for kids. It’s simple and fun -I’d let my non-existent kids play it- but ultimately shallow to more refined gaming palettes. If you think that’s an unfair fight to pick, you’ve never heard me lampoon the hilariously over-nostalgized Chex Quest series.
Agent Gumball is, to my surprise, a dungeon crawler! Yes, a turn-based one at that, reminding me most of the Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon or Izuna games. Where this one differs is in it’s implementation of stealth, which is uncommon for the genre, and used to sneak past or get the drop on patrolling enemies. A bit of an awkward combo, that whole turn-based stealth didgeridoo, but an interesting one nonetheless.
The game starts nigh instantaneously, after a mercifully short and skipp-able intro sequence that establishes the non-sequitur that the series seems to be known for. This setup is cute and inoffensive, so I can’t fault it on anything other than it doesn’t really tie into the game at all. Something about I’m being watched so he starts a spy bureau? I don’t know, the blue one is named Gumball I think.
Hey, do you like collect-athons? What about ones where you’re locked on a grid and are barely able to move ten feet in front of you at best? Yes, this is Agent Gumball’s Achilles’ heel. As the main point of the game is traipsing over the same randomized rooms over and over, tapping on every box and table to find spare change, it get’s kinda tedious. The only part where brainpower or a significant amount of agency is placed on the player is during the fights, where it’s your choice to sneak around enemies or sneak up behind them and hope that the pathing doesn’t completely botch your stealth like it’s been known to do.
The only other area that I can think of may be the classically Android RPG upgrade system, which is far too easy (even for a kid. I let some vagrant kid borrow my phone for a few and even he was one-shotting enemies in minutes), and doesn’t have a significant impact on how you play the game. I liked being able to choose between abilities like stealth or unlocking doors via hacking instead of keycards, but it only offered a glimpse of Deus-Ex-esque player choice. You may say that’s an unfair comparison to lob at a clearly rushed tie-in for children, but I say that Deus Ex came out 16 whoppin’ years ago, and this game clearly understands enough about its design to implement some competent features, even if it’s afraid to expound upon any of them.
Is it Hardcore?
An ehh dungeon crawler that your neighborhood toddler might enjoy.