The Munchables is not a delicious spin-off of the everyday lunch snack (and personal favorite) lunchables, but rather Namco Bandai's new Wii action game that cleverly combines elements of two of its own franchises -- Katamari Damacy and Pac-Man -- into something that feels new, refreshing and perfect for Wii gamers.
First, the Pac-Man link. Players assume control of what's best described as a Saturday morning cartoon "extreme" version of our yellow dot-munching hero. Okay, that sounds horrible. Luckily, The Munchables' uninspired look isn't the reason to be paying attention -- what you do with this character, however, is.
Almost everything around you is edible. Snapping up items in the environment will reward you with medals, but chowing down on enemies is the real focus in The Munchables. That's where Katamari Damacy comes in.
Enemies are assigned different "levels" both literally and visually. An enemy's individual level is displayed above them and, as you might expect, bigger enemies are higher level. Enemies the same level as you or less can be easily eaten, but if they're higher, it's more complicated. Tapping B on theWiimote allows you to charge forward and bust up enemies into smaller, digestible pieces.
This mechanic plays into the larger boss battles, too, of which there are eight -- one for each of the themed worlds. The world I saw centered on dessert and asked me to take down a giant chocolate bar, piece-by-piece. The gigantic tower of chocolaty sweetness would toss gobs of himself at me, forcing me to knock them back. Hit him enough and he breaks up, letting me consume bits of him. That's kind of disgusting, but hey, when it's done in a cute art style, you can get away with anything! You even tally what you've collected during a level by bending over and…releasing.
Publishers are becoming increasingly cognizant of the fact that shorter, focused games with tight hooks work well on Wii. THQ's Deadly Creatures and de Blob and Sega's MadWorld, some of the best third-party Wii games in the last year, have executed on this with notable successes. I hope The Munchables can join them.
Munchables Boss Gameplay
Munchables Modes Gameplay