This is an enjoyable romp, but the utter lack of challenge keeps it from being an exciting one. It also keeps the game free of frustration, which parents might appreciate. But even young children feel more empowered by conquering a powerful foe than by defeating a toothless one. Your projectiles automatically home in on enemies as long as you're facing in their general direction, and the abundance of health packs everywhere makes any damage you suffer in combat or from falling off of platforms inconsequential. Still, the large bosses you face in each dimension look tough even if they are pushovers, and triumphing over a massive goozim or emerging victorious in a boss battle against a towering robotic contraption is sure to give youngsters a thrill.
As you use your gadgets, they level up, and at workbenches scattered throughout each level, you can spend the electronic components you constantly collect to upgrade these handy devices. Additionally, mods located in slightly out-of-the-way spots further improve your weapons; the junk ball mod makes the baseballs you fire explode, for example, while the noxious smell mod for your ninja gloves makes enemies dizzy. And for some added silliness, you can buy and equip sound chips in your gadgets to make them moo, quack, or emit all other sorts of sounds. The way your gadgets improve during the course of your journey brings with it a satisfying sense of progression, and the goofier customization options let kids make the experience their own.
There are always two characters in play, and when you're playing solo, the AI does a fine job of keeping up with you and lending a hand in tussles. Conveniently, a second player can drop in or out at any time. Initially, you're limited to playing as either Phineas or Ferb, but more characters soon become available. There are minor differences between them--Ferb is a bit more resistant to damage, for instance, and Agent P dishes out more damage than other characters--but these benefits are so subtle and the action so easy that you can just ignore these differences and choose your favorite characters.
The bosses aren't tough, but they're big enough to make an impression.
In addition to having sharper, high-definition visuals, the PlayStation 3 version includes four episodes of the TV show, and because both versions are priced at a reasonable $39.99, that's the better option if you have your pick. But you can't go wrong either way. Phineas and Ferb: Across the 2nd Dimension is a good game for youngsters, and it makes great use of its license. Fans of Phineas and Ferb will enjoy this opportunity to jump into the shoes of these resourceful characters, and those who come to this game who aren't fans already just might be by the time they're done.