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Thunderbirds on GBA delivers visually charming cooperative puzzles, showcasing Saffire's signature style, providing a nostalgic journey for fans in a concise, enjoyable handheld experience

In the vast landscape of licensed Game Boy Advance (GBA) games, Thunderbirds emerges as a peculiar entry. Developed by Saffire and published by Vivendi Universal, this title seeks to redefine the studio’s image, breaking away from a lackluster track record. Thunderbirds attempts to deliver a unique gaming experience, blending elements of the Lost Vikings with a dash of Zaxxon design, all based on the real-life 2004 remake of the classic 60s British television show.

Saffire’s Visual Continuity

Aesthetic Familiarity

Saffire’s unmistakable visual style echoes through Thunderbirds. The game features grainy, black-outlined character sprites and industrial, gray background designs—a visual signature seen in Saffire’s previous titles, such as Van Helsing and Around the World in 80 Days.

Puppetry Nostalgia

Capturing the essence of the marionette-based series, Thunderbirds immerses players in the universe of the 2004 remake. However, the puppet-like delivery of Bill Paxton adds an unexpected twist, both quirky and charming.

Cooperative Action and Puzzling Challenges

Team Dynamics Unleashed

Thunderbirds introduces a cooperative action game design, drawing inspiration from the cult classic, Lost Vikings. Players navigate through the game controlling three Thunderbirds team members: Alan, Tin-Tin, and Fermat. Each character possesses unique abilities crucial for solving puzzles spread across nine movie-inspired areas.

Thunderbirds (GBA gallery 04)

Puzzling Peaks and Valleys

While the game successfully adopts the Lost Vikings concept, its puzzle designs lack the same level of cleverness seen in the source material. The limited attributes of characters result in variations of a recurring puzzle-solving theme, where actions like shoving crates, hitting switches, rolling through vents, and hacking computers dominate the gameplay.

Soaring Highs and Lame Lows

Flight to Disappointment

Thunderbirds takes an unfortunate nosedive with its lackluster flying missions. Borrowing elements from classics like Zaxxon and River Raid, these segments fall flat due to bland design and one of the worst collision detection implementations seen in a shooter. Despite the Thunderbirds license’s expectation of spaceship missions, the GBA game could have fared better without them.

Brevity and Audience Appeal

One of Thunderbirds’ shortcomings lies in its brevity. While clearly targeted at a younger demographic, aligning with the movie’s intended audience, any seasoned gamer familiar with a directional pad can swiftly navigate through the nine missions within a short couple of hours. The three-character password system adds an element of awkwardness, highlighting the game’s concise nature.

Verdict: Peaks and Valleys Explored

In assessing Thunderbirds, the Lost Vikings levels showcase reasonable construction and engagement. However, the shooter levels plummet, falling drastically short. Thunderbirds struggles to rise beyond mediocrity, with Atari 2600 games effortlessly outshining it in the shooter genre. The game, while surpassing expectations, finds itself lingering in the realm of the average.

Soar with Thunderbirds, but beware the turbulence. A game designed for fans of the flick, yet its peaks and valleys make it a niche choice, primarily suited for those who found enjoyment in the movie.

Thunderbirds (GBA gallery 02)

Play Thunderbirds Anywhere, Anytime Available on Web, Mobile, and Tablet

Experience Thunderbirds across various platforms—web, mobile, and tablet. Whether reliving nostalgic moments or discovering it for the first time, the game seamlessly adapts to different devices, ensuring a consistent and enjoyable experience.

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What distinguishes This game visually?

This game bears Saffire’s signature visual style, featuring grainy character sprites and industrial background designs.

How does the cooperative action in this game work?

Players control three Thunderbirds team members with unique abilities, solving puzzles across nine movie-inspired areas in a Lost Vikings-meets-Zaxxon design.

What hampers the game's overall experience?

Lackluster flying missions, poor collision detection, and brevity contribute to Thunderbirds’ struggles to reach beyond a mediocre status.

Who is the target audience for this game?

This game is aimed at a younger audience, with its brevity and simplistic gameplay catering to kids familiar with the movie.

Is this game recommended for all players?

While this game may appeal to fans of the flick, its peaks and valleys make it a niche choice, best suited for those who enjoyed the movie.