Licensed game reviews usually start with the word "terrible." But Planet 51: The Game is not offensive enough to warrant the word "terrible." In fact, for what it does, it fares adequately. The problem is, when an entire game is as inoffensive and unambitious as Planet 51 is, it kinda becomes boring.
There's nothing outright horrible about Planet 51. The pseudo open world setting is bright yet empty, there's plenty of variety yet nothing's particularly exciting. Planet 51 is safe. Too safe.
The game's based on the Pixar movie of the same name. Unfortunately, of Pixar quality the game ain't. While it admirably attempts to tie together the events of the film - with snippets from the movie holding the plot - it does so with weak conviction. The voice acting is horrendous and the character's mouths don't even match the words they're speaking. Sprinkle in a few canned animations to give the character's "life" and, hurrah, you have the absolute bare minimum required to tell a story in a video game.
The crux of Planet 51's gameplay relies on travel from A to B with a selection of minigames at the end of them. Vehicles in Planet 51 are extremely sluggish, never quite gathering the speed you expect from them and, just imprecise to use. And the minigames aren't much better. Despite a nod to the classic arcade title Paperboy, of the game's 40 or so minigames, nothing much sticks out. Mowing lawns, racing rubber-band AI, sticking pins in your eyes... Erm... Ok, so we made the last one up but you get the picture. Individually, they are average little snippets of gameplay. But they're not really relevant to the game's plot, nor are they particularly engaging for more than 60 seconds. Sadly, any lasting replay value found in Planet 51 hinges on playing each mini-game ten times over. And trophy whores — this is where you'll fuel your addiction. The tedium sets in way sooner than you can say, "oh that's a neat idea."
Fans of the movie will probably get something out of Planet 51: The Game. And that is the environment. It's completely devoid of any real sense of life, but at least it's rich and explorable. More forgiving children will probably have a decent time hopping around the open-world environments, and that's certainly the game's strength.
Anyone else should steer clear though. It's not that Planet 51 is bad, it's just that it's boring.