The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone Review

I’m led to believe that, in the decade before I was born, the little blue Smurfs were ever so popular. I must have just missed the phenomenon as a kid, but grew up knowing them to a degree. That was all, though, because I wasn’t able to watch the show and didn’t have any figures.

Fast forward more than forty years since they first debuted, and The Smurfs are having a renaissance of sorts, through the medium of video games. Two years ago, The Smurfs: Mission Vileaf debuted to pretty good reviews. Now, two years later, we’ve received not one, but two different games based on the property. I already reviewed one — that being the very solid Smurfs Kart — and have just finished the second one: The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone. Now I can talk about it here.

With a pretty self-explanatory title, The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone begins after the events of the first game, which I admittedly did not get a chance to play. Handy Smurf is up to his usual antics, and has developed a new gadget called the Smurf-o-Mixer, which is capable of shooting out massive cakes for all to enjoy. However, when the device starts to malfunction, and only creates small, green pastries, he searches for a fix. That ends up being a mysterious green stone, which happens to reside in Gargamel’s house.

Upon sneaking into the evil wizard’s home, several Smurfs make their way onto his shelves, where they find the aforementioned green stone. Then, as he’s wont to do, Handy starts to chip away at it, thinking it’s safe to do so. That, it is not. Instead of breaking apart peacefully, something starts to come out of the stone; that being a mysterious, ghostly creature. The aforementioned Prisoner of the Green Stone.

Needless to say, Gargamel isn’t very happy when he walks in and realizes what has happened. He’s scared, and urges the Smurfs to recapture the creature before it does something bad. So begins the seven to eight hour-long campaign found in The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone.

The general idea behind this game is that you must run, dash and platform your way through a number of themed levels, including those set in a forest, some set on top of a snow covered (and windy) mountain, and others that happen to be inside of a volcano. You’ll do this as four different Smurfs, including Storm, Dimwitty, Handy and Brainy.

What surprised me, though, is that this isn’t just your typical 3D platformer game. Instead of just making you jump from platforms and go through portals, as it does plenty of during its runtime, this game also tasks you with shooting insect-like enemies. Your weapon? The Smurf-o-Mixer, which shoots green stones as well as three other types of ammo. One is honey, which can stick wheels in place so that you can reach new platforms, another is a pink flower which allows you to attach flowers to objects like massive blocks, and the other is a blue orb that packs quite an oomph. Only two different types of ammo can be held at one time, but all can be upgraded in numerous ways as you collect green stones.

Having not played the first game, I was quite surprised by how much of a third-person shooter this turned out to be. It would often throw enemies at me, and would lock me into so-called arenas from time to time, wherein I had to kill up to sixty different foes (who looked like frogs, caterpillars, butterflies, bees and mushrooms) before being able to progress. This became pretty tedious after a while, because the game would throw lots of foes at me, but there was little variety in how to approach them. Every battle ended up being the same old thing: point, shoot, and wait for the enemies to die.

This repetition carries forth into the rest of the game, which overstays its welcome. The stages are lengthy, but that’s not necessarily a great thing when there’s so much repetition and such a lack of variety or fun engagement. I was often bored, and wished for the game to end sooner than it did. Everything was just so plodding.

As such, I recommend that anyone who buys The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone plays it in short bursts. That’s the only way to truly enjoy this thing, if that’s even possible. It’s just so dull.

Playing as four different Smurfs should have made things feel different, but it didn’t. Although they each had their own special ability, like being able to slow down time and shoot an arrow at an enemy, throwing a carrot that lures all nearby foes to one area, and so forth, they were used so sparingly that they hardly felt different. It didn’t help that Storm — the first of the Smurfs that you get to play as — had the best special ability, what with her arrows, which made me miss her once I was forced to use a different character.

If you’re thinking that this will be an easy way to get a platinum trophy or 1000/1000 gamerscore, think differently. The achievements and trophies are quite varied, and require you to do a lot outside of the core campaign. This includes shooting all of the green stones that appear in puddles throughout each mission. I thought I was doing a good job and getting most of them, but I was finishing levels with only 49% of them found. Still, I had more than enough to upgrade my weapon and ammunition to near the limit. Furthermore, you’ll also be tasked with finding all of the hidden purple portals, which lead to challenges that will test your mettle.

As someone who grew up playing a lot of 3D platformers, including ones like this that feel like something from the PlayStation 2 era or before, I was hoping to enjoy this game a lot. However, I found myself getting bored relatively quickly and wishing for it to end. It’s too bad, because it’s not bad. It’s just tedious and very similar from start to finish. The very repetitive combat doesn’t help it much, because there’s so little to it other than pointing, shooting and waiting. The bosses are also quite similar, as you have to face the same one twice, then face the main boss multiple times. None of those engagements are much different from one another.

Presentation wise, The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone is a mixed bag. Visually, it looks quite nice and is — as expected — very colourful. The cutscenes look good, the environments look nice (but are quite repetitive) and the character models animate pretty well. However, there was some occasional slowdown, with regards to the frame rate. Meanwhile, the audio features some ok, but overused original orchestral music, and some of the most annoying voice acting in some time. To say that the Smurfs say the same thing over and over again — such as “I’m under attack!” — would be an understatement. Also, while I appreciate their language, hearing things described as Smurf or Smurfing all the time got kind of annoying too. I can’t lie.

If you’re looking for a dated, 3D platformer to play, The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone is an option. You just need to go in with middling expectations and know that you’re going to be in for a very repetitive and forgettable affair. It’s too bad, because there was a lot of potential here. That said, the game isn’t bad — it’s just tedious, all too similar and very mediocre. It’s something I had to force myself to play, and that I’m glad to have finished so that I can move on to something else, but it’s not a bad game per se. Still, I can’t recommend it to folks, outside of big fans of the Smurfs.

This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of the game, which we were provided.

The Smurfs 2: The Prisoner of the Green Stone Review
Reader Rating0 Votes
The Good Stuff
Several different Smurfs to play as
Looks nice
Is longer than the first game, and pretty lengthy overall
The Not-So-Good Stuff
Incredibly basic and repetitive
Lacks variety
The combat never really changes
Repetitive boss fights
The Smurfs you play as don't feel different