There's a hundred and four days of… You know the drill. Two cheeky lads try and make the best out of their seemingly eternal summer vacation by producing eccentric contraptions and inventions from thin air, only for a crazed scientist – the titular Dr. Doofenshmirtz – to get involved. Oh, and their pet platypus is a secret agent who continually works to clear up the duo's mess and defend them from Doofenshmirtz's tricks. Poor parenting and financial constraints aside, Phineas and Ferb is a children's classic, and this PlayStation Vita romp with the Disney favourites seeks to emulate to popularity of the show.
On this fine summer's day, Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz sees the boys causally watching a TV monster truck rally featuring the as yet undefeated Truck Chucker. Naturally, they decide to build their own truck to topple his reign. In no time at all, they've developed an impressive challenger only to have Doofenshmirtz utilise one of his many inventions to give the truck sentience. Enter Carasauras Rex, who proceeds to trash the Tri State Area along with a small army of sentient household appliances. As tragic as this sounds, Phineas and Ferb are pretty used to their daily creations going feral, and set straight to work rectifying the situation along with the aid of Perry, their aforementioned secret agent pet platypus.
Phineas and Ferb's endeavour to put an end to their rampaging monster vehicle creation is delivered in the form of a twin-stick shooter. The brothers are loaded with several weapons that produce respective damage types such as physical and elemental, and these can be upgraded with microchips purchased in-game using the currency that you glean from the destruction of rabid toasters. Although upgraded and seemingly stronger, when you apply and upgrade a weapon, you sacrifice the default infinite ammo, which effectively causes the upgrade tree system to feel like daylight robbery and seem ultimately redundant – at least until later stages.
Virtual Toys has done a wondrous job emulating the core aspects of the show, though; it's filled with little nods and honourable aesthetics that fans will definitely enjoy. Although wholly basic, Day of Doofenshmirtz's visuals are in fact great representations of the source material with character models and bold enemy designs looking especially on point. Even though they're often repeated or re-skinned, the environments are at least colourful, vibrant, and consistent.
Where the environments look and feel the part, though, Phineas and Ferb don't quite match up, and remain fleshed out only in comic strips and the occasional episode of emphatic arm waving. The titular Doofenshmirtz also makes somewhat of a lacklustre impact on your in-game experience, mostly affecting the game through accidents and other slapstick incidents. Considering the title's name, you'd assume a far more hands-on involvement from the quack scientist, but alas, his presence remains surprisingly underused.
The twin-stick mechanic is tried and tested, but somehow manages to remain clunky and hard to handle here. The culprit is usually the camera, which is clearly operated by someone that's had one too many, normally wandering off to a location that you're most definitely not present in. This causes countless struggles with the platforming element, too, often missing areas of progression entirely because you simply can't see them. Precision jumping stages are also unnecessarily frustrating challenges when they're evidently not designed to be. Although immortal and devoid of any penalty for snuffing it, endlessly reattempting a section merely due to an iffy camera is irksome.
It's a welcome design choice, then, to be blessed with relatively brief levels, not sticking around long enough for their faults to reach a precipice. The stages do offer some respite in terms of variation, with side scrolling elements and flight experiences cropping up on occasion – a welcome shift from the camera woes of the core experience. There's limited replay value beyond buying everything in the shop, and although such a system really worked with Ratchet and Clank, we can't help but feel that the incentive is nowhere near as strong here.
Phineas and Ferb: Day of Doofenshmirtz is an honourable platforming experience in which Disney's involvement is more than noticeable. Characters and environments are true to their inspiration, while actual interactions with them are brief and stale. A questionable camera sours gameplay and many of the mechanics suffer a clunky and unresponsive feel as a result. Even fans of the adventurous duo are going to find fault, and for once, Dr. Doofenshmirtz isn't to blame.