Format: PS2

4 005209 082211
Age Restrictions: 3+
13 October 2006

Enter the world of Nickelodeon's newest adventure and bring the
Barnyard movie to life. Battle the coyote invaders, tee up for a game of golf, target the bulls eye with your flying chicken and race downhill on your speedy bike. Explore a fully interactive, 3D world and prove you have what it takes to be the biggest party animal of them all...

Barnyard is based on the Nickelodeon movie of the same name. Now I have to be perfectly honest here. I've no idea what the movie is about and I came to this game expecting a rather half baked product. I know, I know, but when you've been burnt in the past it's hard to approach a game based on a movie without that feeling in your stomach that you get when you are off to the dentist.

Let's be honest, most games based on movies are pretty naff. They are usually rushed out to coincide with the film's opening and offer the same depth as a child's inflatable swimming pool. So it was with great relief that I discovered that not only was Barnyard a pretty entertaining game in it's own right, but that it was also one of those rare beasts - a game that appeals to the very young, the more seasoned gamer and those creatures (known as the other half) who only ever go near the Playstation to play Bust a Move or Worms.

You start off as the new arrival to the farm - the farmer's latest purchase, a young cow. Thankfully the farmer is a vegetarian, so you don't have to worry about ending up on his dinner plate and all the signs are that you are about to lead a charmed existence - you've even got your own bed stuffed with hay.

Once you've chosen the sex, breed and name of your cow, it's time to set off and explore your surroundings. The barnyard is the main gaming area and contains the homes of all of the characters that you'll soon be rubbing shoulders with. You are equipped with a mobile phone and when the other farm animals want you to help them out they will send you a text asking to meet you.

You'll have to perform various tasks in order to unlock other parts of the game, raise your profile amongst your new family as you try to become barnyard champion, and kit out the farmer's barn to make it the coolest place in town to hang out (once the farmer is asleep of course).

There are numerous mini games to play (most of which can be replayed once you've unlocked them) and you must keep your eyes peeled whilst riding around the countryside on your bike, performing tricks and stunts, as there are pages from Pig's recipe book hiding under rocks. There are also flowers, fruit and vegetables that need collecting and hints pinned to trees.

Some of the more enjoyable mini games include golf, darts, pool, whack-a-racoon, tease the mailman, and mud jumpers. But to be honest there's never a dull moment and because each mini game is so varied you never get bored of competing to be the barnyard champion. But the coolest activity is climbing up Gopher Hill and purchasing human items to stock the barn with.

Every aspect of this game is incredibly well polished, from the large graphics to the fantastic toe tapping music. This is an original and entertaining game that will appeal to anyone and everyone - whether they've seen Barnyard the movie or not.

Ray Thompson

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