An Unlikely Duo – the Bundle None of us Wanted

An Unlikely Duo – the Bundle None of us Wanted

Everybody likes saving money; I doubt a single person would disagree with that statement. Whether you have millions of dollars to your name or live on a budget, you’re going to fight to save the pocket change that is rightfully yours.

 

  “What do you mean it’s not on sale?!”

 

In the gaming world, there are many ways you can save that dough, often in the form of bundles. You want all this cosmetic DLC, but $20 is just too steep for you? Buy the bundle and get a top hat for your main character at only $25! I’m sold! You don’t want to pay $15 for three loot boxes? How about we throw in a fourth for $17?

 

  “Well, now you can take my money!”

 

If I can stop ragging on the modern game industry for a second – there are actually many great ways to save money that developers offer us.

 

One of the best value ways out there is to bundle games together for a reduced price. These have the ability to save you an exorbitant amount of capital and often help pad out your collection to boot.

 

One of the most well-known examples is Humble Bundle, a storefront where you can buy digital games (often good games, mind you) at a price you determine, with much of the cash going to charity. 

 

These are fantastic not only for you but for helping others as well. However, these aren’t the only types of bundles. For as good of a deal as they are, I prefer to have physical. 

 

Yes, I am a physical elitist. I prefer something I can actually hold. Something that I can feel, so I know it’s real, yeah. Something that I can stick on my shelf, let collect dust, and admire for most of my life.

 

And for those like me, there are other types of bundles – those wrapped in the same game disc, or sometimes multiple discs in the same case. These are usually the older games in the same series sold for, once again, a reduced price. 

 

There are way too many of these to name, but one of my favorite examples is easily the Uncharted Collection on PS4. This collection gives you Uncharted 1, 2, and 3 for less than the price it would take you to buy a single one of them.

These are fantastic games for an equally fantastic price.

 

What I’ve always loved about these bundles – more than even the money I save – is how helpful they are for fans, both old and new. 

 

Many of these bundles come out just before a new game in a series is released. Think Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far that’s been sitting on my shelf, unopened for around a year, which came out before Kingdom Hearts 3.

 

This is great for old fans as they can have a nice little collector’s item to experience the games with again, but it’s even better for those new to the series who now have a well-valued entry point to get into something they may have hesitated on before.

 

Take my recent experience with Rune Factory 4, for instance. While it wasn’t a bundle of any kind, I took the plunge because I got it for $40 instead of $60 when I may not have done so as readily otherwise. 

 

Believe it or not, when you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for something you’ve never experienced, it makes more people want to try it.

 

My point is, these wonderful little bundles are great for just about everyone involved, even developers who see more revenue from older products because they re-released them in the first place.

 

That’s why today, my dear readers, I would like to tell you about a bundle. However, this bundle is unlike anything described above. This bundle won’t help charity, it’s arguably not that great of a deal, and you likely don’t want it in your collection in the first place. That’s why

 

I Put in it Mine, so you Don’t Have to!

This! This! Well, this is – I don’t know, really. On paper, this looks like a 3DS version of both Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader and Paddington Adventures In London.

 

That’s exactly what this is. That’s fine. I’m not offended at the moment.

 

What I don’t understand is this strange packaging joining them together.

    

(Why is the packaging already opened? I forgot I didn’t take the pictures yet. However, I would say this is an adequate reenactment.

 

Just who thought this monstrosity was a good idea?

 

Well, I found this multiple times at my local Family Dollar store. A place some of you may know. I was always confused, borderline concerned at the thought process behind this. 

 

  “Nobody wants either of these, so let’s see if they’ll buy both instead!”

 

I couldn’t help but wonder who would purchase this. Who’s the audience for this? Can you tell me what person who wants to play a (likely) bad Paddington game also wants to see if they’re smarter than a 5th grader? 

 

The wires just weren’t connecting for me.

 

That’s when I realized after seeing the same copies for months that nobody was buying it after all. That made more sense to me.

 

All was right in the world once again.

 

So I did the responsible thing and bought it myself for $13.

 

Why? Why would I do such a thing?

 

So I can play these two mediocre games and bring my findings to you.

 

Yes, it’s your fault I wasted my money.

 

It’s ok. I forgive you. It’s not like it’s the worst $13 I’ve ever spent anyway.

 

Let’s get right into it – whatever “it” is, shall we? 

 

As these games are a bundle, I’ll be talking about them one after another. You know, like the developers intended. I also don’t want to subject myself to this agony for more than one review. Why don’t we start by revealing how low my education level is? 

 

The Aftermath

I played Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader for around an hour, I would say.

 

Longer than anyone else had. I assure you of that. 

 

This isn’t all I plan to play, I even have a fun idea at the end we can do, but I feel I did enough to grasp what the game is. 

 

Firstly, I want to say that I’m not the type of person to just sit here and trash a game the whole time. You know these won’t be good. I know these won’t be good. I didn’t buy them with that intention, and I highly doubt you are reading this with that in mind.

 

I bought them because I thought I could have a good time with them, whether that was from the games themselves – no matter how mediocre they may be – or from writing this. 

 

I tend to get enjoyment out of many games people consider bad, so I’m not here to go “haha, bad game lol” for a few thousand words and leave. 

 

I’m here to actually discuss the merits (if there are any) that these games have. 

 

With that, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader does have some, just not enough, I’m sad to say.

While it doesn’t make or break a videogame, presentation is critical. This game, unfortunately, looks and sounds horrible.

 

The characters look like short little balloon people and move with all the personality of my pair of slippers I just threw off.

 

Forget that! They at least vary in their bounces when I throw them, unlike all the children who flail their arms robotically no matter what happens. 

 

The thing is, these character models and animations, when done right, are not bad.

 

Take Wheel of Fortune on the Wii, for example. That game is also a sell-out game show game with comparably bad graphics, but the way it’s handled makes it endearing in a strange way.

When the characters do their cut and dried dances, when Pat creeps on your Mii’s ear, even the times you have to wait an hour for Vanna to tap all the letters on the board, it’s all kind of nice. It has a soul, at least it feels like it does. 

 

Maybe it’s the music, or just the atmosphere surrounding the game, maybe I just find Miis incredibly charming, but something feels noticeably different. Something 5th Grader did not have.

 

Another thing I was disappointed in was the lack of voice acting. I expected to have some horribly acted lines to make fun of, but there weren’t any. You’d be surprised how much that kills my enjoyment.

 

All we get in the way of sound is just this horrible song that loops every game you play and the menu music. All of these together make for a game as soulless as Jeff Foxworthy’s eyes that never blink. 

 

Yes, they never close. 

 

All of this makes the game less interesting to play overall. It makes it feel as though it was a rushed product, made just to grab a quick buck from fans of the show. And it likely was, not that I have definitive proof. It’s possible a lot of effort was put into this game by its staff. Either way that doesn’t come through.

 

When you boot up the game, you are asked to make a file, which there are three of them. I always like it when a game has multiple, so point to the game there. I named myself Bopp and began. 

 

You have two real options to choose from. You have primetime mode, which is the game show, and school mode, which we’ll get to in a minute.

 

Primetime plays out exactly as you would expect. You have ten questions, split into five grades and various subjects of the education rainbow that they fall into.

 

Your goal is to answer them all correctly and win the million-dollar grand prize. 

 

To help you on your way, you’re given five children, apparently from a private elementary school.

You can use the kids in two ways. You can either peek at their answer (I swear it used to be called cheat) where you can decide to copy the answer they gave to the question, potentially saving you. The little runts can also save you if they answered correctly to a question you didn’t get right once a game.

 

Every kid has different subjects they are good and bad at, and for every two questions, you swap to a different one. 

 

For some reason, there are like thirty or more kids. I don’t know why they put that much effort into it.

 

The thing I find odd is that the kids are all as stupid as a sack of potatoes. I’m not trying to be mean here, I’m not the sharpest apple in the barrel myself, but all of their grades are like Ds. The highest I saw was a D+.

 

These are kids picked to be on a game show to help an adult. The kids chosen to be smarter than adult Bopp were the misfits of some elementary school.

 

Not the cool kind of misfits. Not the “I march to the beat of my own drum and don’t care” kind. I’m talking the bottom of the barrel, booger chewing, keeps a collection of toenail clippings kind of misfits.

 

Remember, these kids were from a private elementary school, you know, where smart kids typically come from. Why were they sent there? Probably to segregate them from the rest of our youth, so humanity has a fighting chance. I don’t know.

 

This mess is where the other mode comes in.

School is where you run your own (guess what) school and help tutor the kids on their various subjects.

 

This is also where you spend all the money you earn playing the game. 

 

By spending money, you can make your pupils smarter at all the types of questions you’ll find throughout the show. This way, they can actually help you.

 

It also explains why they’re as dumb as the boogers they eat. If you’re a parent and you send your kid to Bopp’s School, you’ve likely given up on them in the first place.

 

I actually like this feature. I didn’t expect a game as soulless as this to actually have some system of progression. I honestly thought the money I earned would just keep ticking up, and I’d never use it. 

 

This feature is also nice considering how many kids there are, some of them presumably unlockable.

 

You can even take your kids on events, which tell you the subjects they like and dislike so you know when to use them.

 

Fleshed out more and not done in the laziest way possible, this mode would have been pretty cool and complements the game well.

 

The idea of helping your students grow and bonding with them by learning their personality traits is an interesting idea.

 

I question how much influence you have over this game show when you own the school the kids are from and can play the game as many times as you want. 

 

Not only that, Bopp apparently charges tuition to keep these kids here. It sounds more and more like Bopp is some kind of master criminal, and I definitely believe he’s holding a gun to Foxworthy’s head.

 

Blink twice if – oh, you can’t…

 

Well, that took a rather dark turn. What do you say we play Paddington?

 

Meanwhile, in the UK

I want to preface this by saying I know nothing about Paddington.

 

I’ve heard of it. The same way I’ve heard about the dinosaurs – I know they existed but have I seen them?

 

Nope!

 

So this is coming from someone who knows nothing about the source material. I only know it’s about some British bear or something along those lines.

 

Initially, Paddington Adventures in London is more promising than the last game we discussed. It has a cute little shot of the bear – I assume is Paddington – walking down some street, presumably in London.

 

The music accompanying the scene is quite nice. Throughout the game, the soundtrack, in general, is passable but is still very repetitive. Just not to the same level as the purgatory that is 5th Grader’s one track. 

 

This game only has one mode; it’s the story mode. Though, that’s a bit of an overstatement, as there’s very little story to speak of.

 

The game is about Paddington, who’s been adopted, I think, into the Brown family, who I imagine lives in London. 

 

But for some cruel reason, Mr. Brown won’t accept him until he proves to all of London that he’s a good, polite British bear.

 

You do this by going around and doing various quests around real-world London. Again, I cannot say how accurate these portrayals are, as I’m not British. I would love to go someday, though. 

This is where some of the negative points of this game come out. This game is essentially a walking simulator mixed with a collect-a-thon – a strange mix.

 

You control Paddington on the touch screen and tell him to walk in several small side-scrolling areas around London doing quests and collecting sandwiches, as well as other collectibles. 

 

You talk to the various characters, which unlocks things around the area you have to collect and bring back to them. This means that all six areas (yes, I did them all) consist of you walking left to right and back again until everything is done. 

 

This gets very tedious, very fast. I was walking in the road and trying to get Paddington stuck to a bonnet by the third area.

There is one way the game breaks up this monotony. That is through minigames. 

 

Above is an example of one where you tap the bottom screen at a steady pace while not running into any pedestrians. There are about six others. 

 

They range from boring to a literal marmalade making Candy Crush rip-off. 

 

They’re ok, but they get reused too much. Some of them are borderline infuriating as well. You often don’t get anywhere near enough time, and even if you do, many of the instructions aren’t clear. 

 

There was even one time I swear the minigame broke. You need to scare all of these birds away by tapping the screen so the bear can eat, but I got swarmed by like twenty of them and couldn’t physically tap fast enough.

 

There’s also a rhythm game that I could barely beat the hardest version of. It was surprisingly tough. If I, an adult, with my adult body, and adult motor skills, had problems with some of these – how do you think the young children this game is targeted at will fair?

I played the entirety of the game. My save file even says 100%, as you can see.

 

This doesn’t mean I loved the game, but I desperately wanted to be one of the only people in the world to say they’ve played this game to completion.

 

Honestly, I even considered trying to take the world record speedrun from the one person who has run the game for a good laugh.

 

More on that in the future, possibly. No promises. But I am crazy enough to try, believe me.

 

Still, this game was far from my worst experience ever. The art was actually quite nice. The models look good enough, and I loved the addition of all the citizens walking around in the back, taking pictures when Paddington acts like a good bear. It has a certain level of charm that is undeniable.

 

Is it fun for an adult? No, not really. Would it be fun for a kid that loves Paddington? Yeah, I’m sure. You would just need to help them with some of the harder minigames.

All and all, I did like it, believe it or not. I’ve spent three hours of my life in many worse ways, let me tell you.

Overall, is this dream team bundle worth the price?

 

Probably.

 

Paddington was a bit of a treat, though it wasn’t fantastic, and 5th Grader is a half-decent trivia game, despite being soulless. 

 

I’m ok with my purchase.

 

Looking on Amazon, I discovered these games would actually be about $20 or so separately. I guess I got a good deal after all. If any of you have a Family Dollar around and $13 to spill, I suppose you could do far worse.

  

Still, I don’t see much reason to buy it. I talked about pretty much everything of note in these games.

 

However, I’m a big advocator of trying things out for yourself. If that’s something you enjoy too, then give it a spin.

 

Because, as always, this was just my opinion, and it isn’t any more or less valid than yours. 

 

If you have a problem with that, I sentence you to three years at Bopp’s School for the Uneducated. Don’t worry; I’ll cover the tuition. 

 

I highly recommend you don’t listen to a lousy non-British American like me, play these games for yourself, and form your own opinions. I hear that Jeff loves those who confidently form their own opinions. 

 

Maybe, just maybe, you can bring a tear to his tired eyes and moisten those things up for him. It must be getting dry on him by now.

 

Thank you very much for — wait!

Hah! You thought I was done here? Well, think again!

 

I told you I would be back for more of Jeffy earlier! That’s right! We’re going back to Bopp town, baby!

 

I love public humiliation, big, big, fan, this guy. So, I thought we’d play one last game of Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader live!

 

Obviously, I can’t completely do it live, but I’ll start writing as soon as I start the game. Maybe I’ll win, maybe I’ll lose on a 1st-grade history question on the first round as I did before. 

 

Hopefully, I win and don’t look like an idiot. I have won once. Let’s see what happens!

 

Who’s my first kid, Jeff? Gimme Julian. Their best grade is a C- in math? What a kid! Let’s take a look at our categories.

 

5th-grade Life Sci/Health, and General English

4th-grade Geometry/Graphing, and General Science

3rd-grade General Math, and World Geography

2nd-grade Social Studies, and Astronomy

1st-grade Grammar, and Literature/Reading

 

Ok. In theory, I like to start with the 5th-grade questions first and leave the easy ones for later. However, the conspirator in me thinks that they make the 1st-grade questions tougher then. Let’s do some General Math, I guess.

 

A vertical group of numbers in an array is called what?

 

I have no clue – sorry, did this game really just keep the time going when I was on the home menu of the 2DS typing this? How seriously do they take this? I’m not a cheater! Don’t look at me like that, Jeff.

 

Guess I’ll have to tell you the question after! 

 

It’s a column, by the by.

 

Hit me with grammar next, Jeff.

 

What is the pronoun in “I live on blah, blah, blah street? 

 

It’s “I.”

 

Get up here, Jeremy, I’m counting on you! I hope you’re good at General English, kid!

 

I just lost. It was about some helping verb. I can barely remember the question by the time I get here. My memory hardly works either. What a revealing experience this has been for all.

 

Let’s do that one more time. The first question wasn’t my fault, I swear.

 

Gimme Jeremy again, and let’s do 5th on history, Jeffers.

 

What was the name given to German soldiers working for the British during the American War of Independence?

 

How should I know? Vandals? Wrong. Jeremy says Hessians. That was actually my second guess. 

 

Hey, look, I, not this blonde kid, was correct. 

 

Go me! 

 

Gimme astronomy; I can do that. I like stars. I live…somewhat near some.

 

What is a group of planets that revolve around the sun?

 

Solar system. Gotta try harder than that, Jeffy. Get on down here, Elizabeth. You better have a few more brain cells than that Jeremy guy.

 

Bopp will send you back to your parents if you don’t. 

 

Why do you look happy?

 

I just had to jump up and grab a charger because my 2DS almost died. Ignore that. How about some literature?

 

True or false, “Alice in Wonderland” and “Tuck Everlasting” are in the same genre. 

 

I have never heard of the latter, so I was confident it was false. I mean, what genre is that, may I ask? Falling down a hole during a drug-induced delusion? What does this “Tuck” person get into?

 

I was wrong, apparently. That’s how it goes. Guess I lost. It’s been fun. I’m not that smart by this game’s standards. Poor, Jeff. I disappointed him so. That’s only fair. He disappointed me too.

 

 

Thank you very much for reading

 

What are some weird game bundles you’ve come across? I’d love to hear. I think this may be one of the strangest ones ever. I dare you to find a stranger one. In fact, please do. It will bring me more joy than you can imagine.

I'd love to hear your thoughts ~

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