|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Namco Bandai||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Namco Bandai||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 26, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
With Nintendos long history of being labeled as the company of choice for providing kiddy games, it comes as no surprise that their current console, the Wii, is home to a slew of games that skew towards a younger audience. While it may be easy to find titles on the console that are thematically appropriate for younger players, it can be much more difficult to uncover one of these titles that is actually fun and plays well. Luckily, this is exactly where The Munchables from Namco Bandai fits in, clearly being made for younger players but with an appealing visual style, interesting gameplay, and enough quirkiness to ensure that it could resonate with a gamer of any age.
Beginning with the games cartoonlike introductory cutscene, players are immediately introduced to the vibrant visual nature of the game as well as its somewhat odd and largely ignorable story. The Munchables takes place on the planet Star Ving (note the game is full of these types of terrible but still humorous puns throughout), a peaceful place made up of several islands and inhabited by creatures who love nothing more than eating. Each island is home to a legendary orb, which continually provides food for all the surrounding residents. One day a group of space pirates headed by the evil Don Onion descend upon the planet, stealing the legendary orbs and using their power to create throngs of Tabemon Monsters, but more on those in a bit. It is then up to the player to return peace to Star Ving by taking back each islands legendary orb, thereby restoring order and an ample food supply for its populace.
In this quest to eradicate the space pirate menace, players are given their choice of two different characters, Chomper and Munchy, with a third option that can be unlocked upon completing the game. There is ostensibly no real difference between these two creatures, as both are essentially just different colored blobs with two eyes, a mouth, and an insatiable hunger. Despite not displaying a ton of detail and having fairly simplistic designs, the games playable characters are actually quite appealing and will even change shape and size during levels. Chomper and Munchy can also be somewhat customized using one of several different unlockable items such as hats or glasses that can be worn by the characters.
The premise behind Munchables gameplay is pretty simple and can best be described as a mixture of Pac-Man and Katamari Damacy, which makes sense since those are both Namco developed titles. Youll typically start every stage at a fairly small size and low level and must munch your way up the food chain in order to finish. Players are able to consume any enemies, who appear as cutesy vegetable and fruit creatures, having a lower level than their character. As your foes are swallowed, a stomach-shaped meter will begin to fill, and once topped off, causing your amorphous blob to grow a size larger. Ingesting adversaries will also improve your overall level, allowing you to consume higher level enemies, which fill your stomach meter and make leveling up much quicker.