My work with The Simpsons Game is complete and my review of the game has been posted over at AMN. In the end the game wound up feeling like another lazy Wii port from our friends at Electronic Arts just as I'd feared. The real reason to play this game is to see all of the new animated material from The Simpsons writing staff. There's actual animated clips that move the story along, and it's animation that looks like it was produced alongside The Simpsons Movie. Honestly, that's the best aspect of the game. Well, that and the many references to The Simpsons universe itself and gaming in general.
Springfield's game store (SequelStop) boasts posters of Bonestorm and Lee Carvallo's Putting Challenge, while Kang and Kodos bring advertising billboards to life and incite a dolphin attack led by King Snorky as part of their invasion plot. Halfway through the game the Simpsons access "the game engine", the factory where video games are made. Parodies of Mario, Donkey Kong, and Sonic the Hedgehog turn up, while posters on the wall of the factory hype games such as Mega Moleman X and Need For Speedo (featuring Homer in scandalous swimwear). Entire levels poke fun at World War II shooters (Homer and Bart join Grandpa Simpson and his Flying Hellfish squadron), Japanese games (Milhouse appears as Katamari Damacy's King of All Cosmos), and Grand Theft Auto (in which Marge and Lisa clean up the gameworld and make it a nice place to live). Matt Groening turns up as an end-level boss who attacks by tossing character sketches that come to life at our favorite family. Fans of Groening's other famous soon-to-be-revived animation project should not miss this boss fight.
Fans of the series really need to at least rent this one and slog through the tepid gameplay to see all of the gags and clips. Not a devotee of Homer J. Simpson? Sit this one out.