Released just prior to the theatrical debut of Shrek the Third to maximize its synergistic potential, Shrek the Third for the PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii is more compelling as a brand marketing bullet point than it is as an actual video game. While there are certainly worse movie-license games out there, Shrek the Third still feels slapdash and thoughtless, plus its function to entertain is overwhelmed by its function to make money.
As is movie-license-game tradition, the story in Shrek the Third provides a broad pantomime of the film on which it is based. More interesting than the actual story--which sees Shrek tracking down an heir to the throne of Far Far Away while Prince Charming makes a coup attempt--is the puppet show format of the story sequences. Aside from these sequences, as well as a musical number masquerading as a boss battle, most attempts at humor in Shrek the Third fall flat. This is either because the celebrity sound-alike voice cast can't nail it, the timing is stilted, or the material itself just isn't funny.
The game is a by-the-numbers action adventure game, with a heavy focus on button-mashing combat, plenty of item collection, some light platforming, and some even lighter puzzle-solving. With the exception of the medieval-themed high school, most of the game takes place in conventional fairytale locales, pitting you against pirates, witches, gargoyles, enchanted trees, and loads of generic thugs. In addition to the big, green, ill-tempered ogre Shrek, you'll play as Donkey, Puss in Boots, Arthur, Fiona, and Sleeping Beauty at different points in the game.
Felled enemies will drop fairy dust that will fill up your three-part special attack meter. Using your character's special attack will drain one section of the meter. If you fill up all three sections of the meter while playing as either Shrek or Fiona, you can trigger a special ogre power, which slows down time and makes everything all Matrixlike. The game's already easy, and the ogre power just makes it more so. There are other minor differences among the characters, with Puss in Boots' ability to double-jump and Sleeping Beauty's ability to glide slowly to the ground from high falls as the most apparent. However, these differences are mostly irrelevant because combat is such a dominant force in the game and every character relies on the same mindless two-button attack combos.