Danger Mouse: The Danger Games is a party/racing game aimed at devotees of the children’s TV show Danger Mouse. While the more enthusiastic young fans might enjoy playing as their favourite characters, the game is largely underwhelming.
Contrary to what the title might suggest, the game actually only offers a single mode: racing. You’ll jump, attack, and dodge obstacles such as anthropomorphic hotdogs and oversized tetrominoes as you race to the finish. Races take place in various idiosyncratic locations, and the worldbuilding makes for an eccentric experience even if it’s slightly overdone.
Danger Mouse’s run-dodge-attack gameplay itself isn’t new, but the game offers unlockable items and characters for variety. These take the form of cards that you earn from completing races. Disappointingly, many of the weapons and items have rather similar in-game effects, and what seems like an interesting customisation mechanic turns out to be pretty lacklustre.
The game also provides a series of unlockable courses to encourage a longer play time. Upon starting a new game, only one map is available. Earning enough XP will unlock the others. This grind for XP is unfortunately slow-going and unrewarding, and new courses all feel rather similar thanks to some heavily recycled visual and audio assets, even if there are some key aesthetic differences between each map.
The exception to this repetitiveness is each course’s ‘special’ obstacle, which will include anything from button-mashing sequences to puzzles that must be completed before you can continue the race. This adds some variety, although the game neglects to provide an explanation of most of these obstacles’ mechanics. The result is that you’ll have to resort to trial-and-error mid-race; as every second counts, it’s a good idea to do an offline practice run or two before battling it out online.
Danger Mouse also offers the ability to upgrade your character and item cards. Here, too, the game falls short as the upgrades consistently lack clear explanations. While you can assume that improvements may provide boosts to character speed or weapon efficacy, for example, there doesn’t seem a straightforward way to confirm this from the relevant menu before actually activating the upgrades.
While this makes for a confusing gameplay experience in and of itself, the vagueness of the upgrade system soon becomes more problematic due to the game’s microtransactions. After all, if you accidentally spend all your coins on upgrades that aren’t ‘worth it’, the game offers a very quick fix via the eShop. It gets worse when you consider the game is based on a popular children’s TV show; needless to say, if you’re purchasing this game for a young fan, it should probably be used alongside parental controls.
Danger Mouse has been designed with multiplayer in mind, with offline split-screen play supporting up to four players. However, most of the game’s basic features, including the ability to upgrade items, require internet access, making it impossible to play on the go. The ‘Secret Agency’ is an additional online feature, offering card-trading between friends and a simple message system. The game also supports online play with an NSO subscription; to the game’s credit, online matchmaking is surprisingly fast.
As a single-player experience, Danger Mouse: The Danger Games is largely forgettable. It’s likely that you’d have a little more fun with friends in the competitive mode, but as far as racing games go, there are far better options – notably without microtransactions – on the Switch.
Danger Mouse: The Danger Games £4.49
Danger Mouse: The Danger Games is only going to appeal to avid fans of the children’s TV show on which it’s based. If you do pick it up, watch out for the microtransactions.