The Evil Warlord is almost the only intimidating presence in this. Everything else is cute, which would be fine, except it seems to go for ages 5 and below, if the gas joke battle(!) is anything to go by. No one that young physically has the reflexes and hand-to-eye-coordination this requires. There are titles for them. Kids should be granted "evil", that makes seeing it defeated far more satisfying. There's a reason fairy tales have figuratively ugly villains... children can use that to metaphorically deal with any such elements in their own psyche. Imagine if The Nothing or Sauron were made silly. Anyway, he is spreading chaos across nature. You can see that you are closing in on the source of this as you progress. In contrast, you are in peaceful coexistence with it, and know how to use it to, anytime, immediately, craft potions for restoring energy and the like. Whenever you take out one of his men, they will turn back into the cuddly, innocent animal he transformed it from. You can temporarily possess any of these, simply walk into or out of it, a few can even attack, although it's mostly useless. And none of them can fly, not even just slightly lifting off the ground, when that would have been so cool why have birds in there, then? To stop him, you must make your way to and through his castles, each of which hold a boss that you have to trudge through the QTE of. You won't be able to fully appreciate how much potential was wasted here unless you can last all six and a half hours of this boredom and monotony... walking pointlessly or fighting frustratingly. Were these two done by different groups who had no contact with one another?
The levels are nicely diverse and well-designed. Mountains, great rivers, canyons, a haunted forest, hills, flooded valley, range, volcano. You can always tell where, and to an extent when, you are. Graphics are great. It'll rain, there are clear skies, etc. The time you spend on foot can be done at your pace. Explore, gather mushrooms, get collectibles, etc. Maybe try to find some of the magic that you're suddenly expected to have, that it didn't otherwise ask you to get. 12 spells, most for combat, half are for going on the offensive. Of course, since this is the one IOI property that isn't a shooter, they treat these dozen as separate, as if they were guns. You can put half on a wheel also for equipment like Shuriken and caltrops. It never ceases to stop the experience dead in its tracks to switch using it. Why not let us assign them to numbers for instant use, a la Force Powers in the Star Wars: The Jedi Knight series? A rifle, you may use for quite a bit of time, lightning, fireballs, meteors, not so much. There's too narrow a window for reading signs, picking up ingredients, etc. and they are not given their own key, so you do one meaning to do the other, breaking up the flow.
In fact, it's the same as for the jump. Which will be the same regardless of a press, tap or hold. And that's the core problem with combat, and any time you're asked for careful movement. Then again, there's hardly any of the Prince of Persia-like acrobatics, so let's focus on the former. It's too loose. While this is meant to make it approachable for first-timers, it means you're always trying to pull of more complex maneuvers than it wants, since that's what you need. There's no rhythm to it, the way there is in the Arkham ones, or to a lesser extent, and one that came out before this, TMNT. You'll automatically launch yourself in the direction you're pointed whenever you strike. Same for stunning. Blocking, as well, which can let you roll. When you're asked to do one of these, then another, you have to awkwardly "let it finish". The 6 Ninjas you use are too similar. There's barely any difference in range and speed, which is a strength of the aforementioned four Turtles. At least their specials are distinct, and add a little of the sparse variety. The Samurai you go up against have these problems as well. At least some get interesting, such as Mages that can slow you down and bring in more foes.
You have a multifunctional hat. It stops arrows, even flaming ones, from any angle. You can't wear it when you hit someone, meaning you'll close in on them wearing it, and then it's go-time. You can use it as a boat, or even swim, the latter only in shallow water. You can then cross it avoiding a bridge full of people, fish using a rod, ride down rapids. Thankfully it turns infinitely faster than you can sail in it. Why they put you in at least one area like that when you have to keep moving is beyond me. Snowy slopes are another possible use of it, where you knock down enemies as you escape an avalanche... and I wonder if somehow, the poor foxes, chickens and frogs survived that. Well, we don't see them turn into those, maybe those were, I don't know, made out of air? They're not all woodland creatures, for taking over.
There is a ton of bloodless, deathless violence in this. You never do help rebuild, or even put out the fires in the villages and the like. Wells, reseeding, it seems like this could have had you do more than merely get rid of the parts of the army that are breaking the property of the farmers. I recommend this to the most patient, tolerant of parents, of the most whiny son and/or daughter that refuses to shut up before you get, and then complete, this for them. Any other situation, you can do so much better than this. For yourself and your offspring. 5/10
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