Man, those little yellow minions can move!

First impressions  

As popular as the original “Despicable Me” was at the cinema, with the barrel-chested Gru and his unintelligible minions, the sequel, aptly named “Despicable Me 2,” was a huge hit for Universal Studios this year, making it a top winner at the box office. It should therefore come as no surprise that an app, featuring those pesky, yet lovable minions, would come down the pike and into the App Store. 

“Despicable Me: Minion Rush” is here just in time for Christmas, with loads of the little fellows racing about, causing mischief, and bringing cheer where ‘ere they go. We’ve always been a sucker for small, yellow beings, and so how could we resist trying this app? We cracked our knuckles and prepared to take ourselves through all the obstacles, collecting bananas as we went. Yep, that’s right: bananas. 

 

How it works  

Well, it takes a bit of time to start up. You go through an entertaining cartoon, followed by a fairly long loading process. As this goes along, you’ll be asked for your birthdate so the game can glean what skill level you’ll be and what might best entertain. 

Once that’s done, it’s time to take your minion on the run. He, she, it…starts motoring towards a ramp that sends it flying into the air, past Gru, and hanging on to other minions, before landing on a three-lane bridge where it moves like the dickens in a forward direction. 

You’re in the Holiday Lab to start off, and as you collect bananas you have to switch lanes to avoid being run over by other minions in wee forklifts, and jump over other barriers. It’s all about the yardage and banana collecting, not to mention tokens that will help you purchase options and, very importantly, the chance to “Revive” when you almost inevitably bash into something or fall off the bridge to the waiting snow below. 

You know you’re in the Holiday Lab when you go ramming into a set of Christmas lights by mistake and get electrocuted. 

The whole point of spending tokens to get revived is so that you can continue to gain more yards. The first time will only cost you five tokens, but the second time on the same run will cost you 15, and so on. 

When you’ve managed to make it through the Holiday Lab you can move onto the next locations, such as Residential Area, El Macho’s Lair, The Mall and Minion Beach. 

If you’re wondering how your loads of bananas can help you, beyond putting your potassium levels through the roof, look out for extras like the Minion Launcher, that can give your little guy a distinct advantage in distance at the beginning. 

 

When we played  

Before we even had a chance to let the whole thing load, our now ex-friend and workmate, Dean, had grabbed our iPad and entered a birthdate for 2007. We spluttered that we were testing the app for this column, and now our data would be inaccurate. He shrugged off our moaning, and played a few times before handing it back. We couldn’t find a way to adjust the birthdate, so now we were stuck with what a 6-year-old would be given. Our minion would probably be really, really slow, and the game would be a piece of cake. Silly ol’ Dean. 

Well it turned out that our fears were absolutely baseless. In fact, after trying the game a few times in rapid succession, we wondered if our true age would have given us an easier time of it. After all, kids today are born in a wondrous technology era, and if our 2-year-old nephew’s iPad ability is anything to go by, a six year-old was probably considered much more capable than someone in their (ahem) 40s. 

Our minion hit the deck the moment he came upon the first obstacle. We also weren’t grasping the whole changing-lanes-and-jumping maneuver, which had us plowing into snowmen, other minions and the like. 

By the umpteenth time trying, we had collected many, many bananas. A monkey would have been proud. On the other hand, we had barely made any distance at all. We kept failing when we came to what appeared to be an ice flume. We would skim the far right side, and then fly over the edge to go plummeting into the snow. We’re embarrassed to say that it took many tries before we realized that if we simply rocked the iPad, we could adjust our position in the flume. Oops. 

We did slowly get better, and we chose to “Revive” a couple of times, if for no other reason than we were dying to see what lay beyond the first two meters of the game. We also earmarked 500 bananas for the launcher, which were bananas well spent. 

We can’t count, however, the number of times we got electrocuted and had to start the run all over again. Very irritating. 

Every time we thought we’d had enough, and put our iPad down for a while, we ended up grabbing it again, determined to master this app. Apparently despite our feelings of irritation, there was something about it to keep our interest. 

 

Final thoughts  

“Despicable Me: Minion Rush” is a no-brainer when it comes to kids. When you combine the popularity of the film, the lovable minions and the elements of the game, it’s a win-win situation. There are in-app purchase options, but most can be avoided if you just stick with it and get better, rather than paying for assistance. 

Our one piece of advice is to make sure that your swiping fingertip is dry. A moist one will significantly affect your skill and harsh language will ensue. Trust us. 

Pros:  

Free. Great animation. Lots o’ minions. Devilishly addictive. 

 

Cons:   

Devilishly addictive. 

Despicable Me: Minion Rush 

Cost: Free 

Seller: Gameloft 

Devices: Android and iOS 

Rating: E for Everyone 

Three and a half stars 

minions-1.jpg

A gaggle of minions
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