There's a fine line of distinction between games that are suited for children and games that are merely crummy. The deciding factor tends to be whether or not the game seems fun despite its cute looks and simple gameplay. In the case of Flushed Away for the Game Boy Advance, D3Publisher has produced a simplistic side-scrolling action game that's clearly geared toward younger players, but they've neglected to make the experience seem anything other than dull and repetitive.
Players can control Roddy or Rita in this horrible side-scroller based on an animated movie.
As the title, character graphics, and dialogue scenes suggest, the game is based on the animated movie of the same name that was produced by Aardman Productions, the same outfit that brought Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run to the big screen. The main characters and bosses in the game are large and nicely animated, and they closely resemble the clay-sculpted characters from the movie. Furthermore, the dialogue scenes that appear each time you complete a level are put together from a combination of the game's character sprites and image captures taken from the movie. Unfortunately, beyond those few sprites and cutaways, the game looks and sounds like every other hastily concocted side-scroller. Each level's background is an uninteresting collection of boxes, steel beams, and floors that don't resemble much of anything, let alone places from the movie. Within those bland backdrops, the majority of non-boss enemies are generic two-tone bugs, mice, and slugs that mostly just spit goo. Occasionally, an angry mouse will pull out a bazooka. The audio isn't any better. It's just an assortment of fast-paced music and comedic sound effects that, while appropriate, certainly weren't taken from the movie.
For some reason, the developer thought the best way to interpret the movie was to have you yank a bunch of switches and swat a countless number of pink-and-black insects.
In addition to the weak presentation, the actual gameplay is overly simplistic and repetitive to the extreme. You go through the 12 main levels just swatting countless enemies and flipping an interminable number of switches. The two characters can run, jump, and attack, as well as activate a super attack when their power meters are full. That's it. The enemies generally sit still while you wail on them, but you don't have to worry too much if they do manage to spit out an attack, because they drop health items liberally. Aside from leaping between platforms every once in a while, you mainly spend your time in each level searching high and low for the switches that will unlock the doors standing in your way. The game only breaks out of its doldrums for the boss battles and boat-themed shoot-'em-up stages that occur at the end of some levels. These portions are a little more diverse and put up a bit more challenge, but not so much that they make up for the boring trek leading up to them.
Movie tie-in games on the GBA tend to stick to the generic "run, jump, and punch" formula. The problem with Flushed Away is that it sticks to the formula in the simplest and most matter-of-fact ways. There's no style, there's no flair, and there's definitely no fun. Although the game may have been produced with younger players in mind, it's so dull and tedious that any child with a pulse will give up on it within a few minutes.