Netflix’s Trollhunters, the first show for children from Guillermo del Toro finds his way on Xbox. This magical show that parents and children can enjoy together might be one of the best things on the streaming platform. So as a fan I was really excited to get my hands on Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia, especially knowing who was developing the game. The makers from Shantae and Bloodstained, developer Wayforward. Not in a million years would you dare to think that this would be a total failure, right? Afterall, Trollhunters is a critically acclaimed TV show and Wayforward released some excellent games. Guess again, as it has been a long time since I was so disappointed. From the very first minutes, you realize that this is simply an ordinary cash grab.
What we liked!
- Co-op play: Trollhunters is completely playable in co-op, with players taking control over Claire and Jim. Performance is a little wonky though, frame drops happen often while battling together. Completing and platforming together is a nice touch, even if the gameplay isn’t any more fun than your average mobile game.
- Sound and music: Straight from the TV show is the music score and voice work, despite having some bad dialogue the voice actors do their best with what they got. They literally manage to save some parts of the game, together with the fantastic music.
- Confusing and unexplained gameplay mechanics: Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia is a game aimed for young players, they need more guidance or reminders then let’s say you or me. The game confused the heck out of me, at one particular moment the game requires to do a ‘movement slide’ but without any other additional information. It simply doesn’t say how you do this slide, you have to crouch with your protagonist and press A. An even bigger issue arrives when you visit the main hub for the first time, the beautiful Heartstone Trollmarket from the TV show is reduced to a generic and ugly city hub in the game. I can guarantee you that over half of the players will be stuck here. You need to go and talk to a few trolls first, open up your inventory, click on an item and from there you can select to teleport to a new platform level. All of this with zero explanation, good luck kids for finding all of this out. Games like this should introduce young gamers to videogames, not scare them away! The constant backtracking is another confusing issue too.
What we disliked
- The strongest point from the TV show is now piss poor, dialogue: Not in a million years do I believe that mister Guillermo del Toro himself worked on this game. The only thing I can imagine is that he would say scrap everything you wrote and try again. Seeing the wonderful and fascinating characters from Trollhunters being transformed into brainless and generic is honestly painful and makes me angry. Lazy, absolutely lazy work ruin everything that Trollhunters is about. The writers simply don’t get the world or don’t get the characters, at all.
- Repetitive and boring gameplay: If you played Paw Patrol on Xbox you’ll notice a lot of similarities. As in, you constantly press your stick to the right and press one-button, that’s about it. Combat and collectibles change the formula a little but gosh, it is beyond generic and boring. The only challenge comes from hitting enemies on time and doing some easy platforming. I had my fair share of playing games aimed for the younger audience and I normally enjoy them but this troll of a game is one of the finest examples of being extremely boring.
- More bugs than trolls: More than five times did I have to restart a level because platforms failed to trigger a movement. Sometimes enemies become immune to any sort of damage too, it felt like an Ary and the Secret of Seasons all over again. A game so broke that you wonder if the developer even tested it properly, they likely fell asleep of the dull gameplay while testing.
No, Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia isn’t anywhere near the quality of the Netflix Tv show. Disappointing for longtime fans that hoped to play something decent with the lovely characters. Sadly the word cash-grab is the first thing that comes to mind after playing this atrocious videogame.