|A week ago, I wrote a
scathing review of Mary-Kate and Ashley: Magical Mystery Mall. I ripped apart the poor
graphics, derivative gameplay, and clunky controls. I also took issue with its catering to
the outdated stereotype of the shopping addicted teen. I really hated this game. But then
something happened. My little sister came up to Idaho from Arizona for a visit. While she
was here she did two things: she played in the snow and she played Magical Mystery Mall.
She didnt seem to notice how horrible the graphics were when I pointed them out to
her, and I just couldnt convince her that the controls were horrible. She simply
didnt care. So, here I am rewriting a review of a game that Ive spent far too
much time contemplating.
The commodity that is Mary-Kate and Ashley has infected every
possible media outlet on their quest for world domination. These girls have come a long
way from playing straight men (or women) to the comic genius of Bob Saget. They have their
own records, adventure books, videos, dolls and magazine. Now we have them on the
PlayStation too. The game works on the satellite TV principle. If you give them enough
channels maybe they wont realize that theres nothing worth watching. The
Magical Mystery Mall has a lot to do, but none of it is all that innovative.
The game starts off with Mary-Kate and Ashley
accidentally freezing the mall in time. Excel at a series of unrelated mini games and they
will undo the havoc they have wrought. These games consist of a fashion show,
photographing cute guys at the beach, snowboarding, waitressing, and choreographing your
own music video.
In the Fash section you get to dress up your Olsen of choice and then have her
pose on any one of a number of runways. No matter what combination of clothes you inflict
on the poor girl she will always tell you what great taste you have. Once you get your
Olsen of choice on the runway you need to take an award winning photograph of your new
The beach game should be the most disturbing for most parents. It appears that
Mary-Kate and Ashley have been spreading some false rumors about knowing some really cool
guys. So, instead of coming clean about their dishonesty, theyre encouraged to
fabricate evidence to back up their lies. You follow Mary-Kate or Ashley along the
waterfront and then try to take a picture with her in it without any of the cool guys
noticing. Thus reinforcing the "cool by association" principle.
Snowboarding was a nice touch. It has a pretty simple design, but it was refreshing to
have a "girl" game that took a break from playing dress up, cute boys, and
shopping. The graphics or gameplay for this mode arent going to win any awards, but
they get the job done.
As a waitress at the local five and dime you roller skate between the heat rack and the
customers trying to rack up enough tips to get your gem. This is probably the most
addictive mode in this game. Its very basic; get the right order to the right
customer before they get ticked off and leave. I actually enjoyed this mode, but the
controls were so sensitive that I got more frustration than actual customer satisfaction.
But again, like the snowboarding, this provided a nice break from the stereotypical
the malls disco you can choreograph their moves and then make them dance to your
favorite Britney Spears, NSync, or Rob Zombie CD. You choose from a series of
"rad" dance moves and then control the camera angles for a music video shoot. I
was switching camera angles so quickly it looked like a Michael Bay movie. This was my
sisters favorite game on the disc. It was really important to her to get high marks
on her camera work.
Even though it seems to hit its target audience
right on the mark, I cant give it more than three stars. There is nothing remarkable
about this game. It is more of a deft marketing tool than anything else. Will your little
Mary-Kate and Ashley fans love it? Undoubtedly. And, in the end, does anything else I have
to say about this game really matter?
Ups: Your young fans will love it; lots of modes; a few pretty addictive
minigames; snowboarding and waitressing.
Downs: Bland graphics; thoroughly reinforces gender stereotypes; touchy control.
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