Four of some of the major Nicktoon universes collide with an objective to stop their respective villains from destroying their universes,but will they manage to save them with justice in time,or was the damage already done within the start point of all this?
Nicktoons Unite!(Or 'SpongeBob Squarepants & Friends Unite!',from what my version says) is a game which has the universes of Danny Phantom,SpongeBob SquarePants,Fairly Odd Parents and The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron collabed,released on 2005 and 2006 for the GameCube,Playstation 2,Game Boy Advance,and the latest version of it was on the DS,which we'll be looking at for this review,as I don't have the other versions.
The story starts with Jimmy Neutron creating the Neutronic Reality Projector,a machine which allows acess to portals to other world dimensions other than his own,but apparently,Professor Calamitous has been secretly spying him,and with that in mind,he creates his own version of Neutron's newest invention,causing an unfortunate twist of the professor being able to call the most menacing individual from the other worlds he could find,including Vlad Plasmius(from Danny Phantom),Plankton(from SpongeBob) and Denzel Crocker(from Fairy Odd Parents),creating an evil alliance know as the Syndicate of Evil.After they unite up as a team,they create the Doomsday Device,which has the power of destroying the multi-verses,and it so happens that the machine is just so powerful,that it requires power fuel from other worlds in order to work,incluiding energy from jellyfish,ghosts and "magical fairy hologram" energy.Jimmy Neutron happens to call a group of heroes from the universe Calamitous has united his "villain recruits" just in time,being those Danny Phantom,SpongeBob SquarePants and Timmy Turner,and thus,it's up for them to stop Professor Calamitous and his evil gang from finishing the Doomsday Device before their respective universes are taken over by destruction.The story is pretty simple and generic,being your typical group of bad guys wanting to destroy the world,while there's another group of good guys who'll stop them to save the day,but considering this is a game aimed for younger audiences,I'll give this one a pass.
The game allows you to play as four different characters,being those Danny Phantom,SpongeBob SquarePants,Timmy Turner and Jimmy Neutron,each of which having their own abilities,which we'll talk about soon after we see how the controls work,and they're pretty simple,with the controls to jump,attack,adjust camera angles and switch between characters on the Touch Screen by sliding one character of your choice to the middle of the screen.I should mention you also have a special attack for each of the 4 characters,in which you need to collect specific ammount of certain fuel to use,which'll help from time to time while playing through the levels.Now,let's talk about each character's abilities:
Danny Phantom can wall jump by pressing the jump button close to a wall,shoot energy balls at enemies and transform into his ghost form while having slimy ghost energy as his fuel.
SpongeBob SquarePants can glide using his pants as a parashoot to glide through large areas while holding the jump button,blow bubbles to use as projectiles,which are faster and weaker than Danny's energy balls,and create a giant bubble around him to float to reach high places,if he has enough bubble fuel.
Timmy Turner is the only one that doesn't attack when pressing the attack button.Instead,he covers himself within a bush,which is only used within certain parts of the game,where you have to sneak around enemies without being noticed.He's also the fastest of the group,and can stop time when his fairy power fuel meter is full.
Jimmy Neutron can double-jump with his jetpack,shrink enemies with his invention controller,and fly around in the air with his jetpack when having chemistry energy fuel collected.
They each play functionally and fun at times,and the way they force you to use certain character abilities in order to progress in levels is a bit creative,so here's a bit of credit for Nickelodeon not rushing up this game entirely,although the dialogue moments that were clearly done in less than 30 minutes(with the character portraits slapped on a background in the top screen,and the dialogue on the bottom screen),proves for that statement to not be 100% true.
Throughout the game,you'll have to travel through 4 worlds,incluiding Amity Park(from Danny Phantom),Bikini Bottom(from SpongeBob),Dimmsdale(from Fairly Odd Parents) and Retroville(from Jimmy Neutron),and each of them hold 3 levels based on the world they're on.As you might have summarized as of now,this game has a total of 12 levels,with each taking from 10 to 30 minutes to complete.However,with that in mind,the game is a little short,and you may be able to complete it in an entire afternoon of one day,and after you finish the Nicktoons Unite! on the DS,there won't be a lot that will make you come back to it often,and that's a bit of a shame,really.
About the levels themselfs,they are rather big for a portable game released on the DS's early ages,which is nice,considering the game has only twelve levels,as mentioned before.Unlike the console versions,the DS version takes a more approachable focus on the platforming,rather than the beat 'em up style.Each of the levels are divided in sections to progress,and certain sections will require you to do a specific task in order to advance,and in most of those cases,you'll have to collect a number of ordered objects or defeat every enemy present within that section.Other levels will force you to sneak around enemies(otherwise,you'll have to start the level all the way back from the begining),and for the most part,it only appears on the starting section on those levels,and there was only one in which you had to go sneaking around enemies throughout the entire time of that level,and you also have to use Timmy Turner in them,although I scratched my head thinking at one point of one of these levels(which was from the Fairly Odd Parents) and said "How do they don't suspect there's a walking bush in the middle of the school corridors?How does this logic work here?",since I've never seen a walking thing from florets nature walking around my school,but I guess it's supposed to be cartoon logic.Some parts of the level,as said before,will require you to switch between characters to use their abilities,and if it isn't from their platforming abilities,it is from their special abilities,which are only actives if you hold the icon that appears(remote control for Jimmy,bubble blower for SpongeBoB,Cosmo and Wanda for Timmy,and Danny Phantom for,well,Danny Phantom) on the Touch Screen,and sadly,that brings one annoying issue to the game.The concept is nice,with Nickelodeon trying to see what they can do with the DS's interactions with the bottom screen,but it falls down on the execution,because there's no other option to use those special abilities,and because of that,you haven to hold your thumb/finger on the bottom screen while moving the D-Pad,which is frustating to accomplish,especially in the first levels.The levels in a overall statement range from being decent to average,and they felt a bit generic at times,but they were still nicely executed.
There are also boss battles in Unite!,and as few as they are,I can say they are ok and functional,at the very least.Vlad's battle a bit awkward,since you can't dodge the attack he reflects at you easily,and you also have to keep a good memory on this one;Plankton's battle is pretty hard,although not in a bad way,Crocker's is mostly luck based,having to stop time so he can be hitted by lighting bolts,since he'll stop running through a circular track whenever he sees one incoming.
Calamitous is more of a chase run at first,but after that,you have to complete the battle in less than a minute before his Doomsday Device activates destruction,which gives a little of tensity to the battle.
The boss battles aren't very memorable,but they're excusable to pass as decent battles.
Throughout levels,you will have to complete small minigames to advance,and there are five types of these in total,and the first three of them are timed,by the way:
Circuit Breaker has you clicking on geometrical forms on a pattern until you reach the rightmost side,and it's usually the easiest minigame in the game.
Ghost Grab is one where you have to drag a quantity of ghosts to a portal,and that's it,basically.
Power Source is probally the hardest minigames out of the bunch,because you have to guide an electric line to a round power resource through a maze.Sounds simple?Well,what if I tell that if you touch one of the maze's walls,you'll lose 3 seconds from your counter,and the time isn't usually high,so you have to play this one with patience,in order to pass here successfully.
Processing Machine competes with Power Source for the hardest minigame spot,since it's also pretty frustating,but mostly because of the execution.Here,you have to circle a bubble around jellyfishes/fairiess,so they don't fall on the processing machine,in which if it reaches a certain amount of captured jellyfishes/fairies,you lose.Instead,you have to drop a small amount of formulas/anti-fairies in the machine to win,and you obtain them by freeing the jellyfishes/fairies in bubbles through escape routes on the topmost part of the bottom screen.The problem here is that whenever you circle around one of these creatures,it usually doesn't respond well,and it doesn't help with the factor that they are sucked into the machine pretty fast,leaving you with a pretty hard time in these minigames.
Villain Attack involves you having to protect one of the main 4 character's allies,which are Jack Phantom,Patrick,Chester and Goddard from being attacked inumerous times by their villains,by tapping their projectiles to vanish.
The minigames are okay,ranging from easy to incredibly frustating,and you might find a little piece of enjoyment within them while playing.
Last thing we have to see here is the music.Let's say that when compared to the GC and PS2 versions,the music from the DS version is far superior from the silent and "elevator-ish" music of the console versions,although the soundtrack in general is just decent at best.There are more lively tunes here,each matching the world they're in,and they can be a little catchy at times,which I found surprising for a license game,so all and all,there are more nice pieces of music to listen here portably than what you'll get if you hear the music of this game on your TV.
Although Nicktoons Unite! on the Nintendo DS may not have quality dialogue sections,original story,unique level design,good execution for the special abilities and in some of the minigames,high replay value and great boss battles,it's still a decent product,and a better choice from what I've seen from the home console versions of the game.I'd only really recommend this one in particular if you're a die-hard fan of at least one of the shows in here,and if you're looking for a decent license game.Otherwise,I'd say to rent this game,since you're mostly going to finish this in less than 7 hours,and if you really like what you've seen,then buying it wouldn't be a bad option.Now,Nicktoons shall assemble!