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Inspector Gadget: Mad Time Party Review (Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Switch & PC)



As an avid fan of the beloved and ever-intuitive mind of Inspector Gadget, I’d say that, from a personal standpoint, I felt inclined to give Smart Tale Games’ latest party-starting entry a shot. And honestly, I’d be lying if I said I had high expectations for it, not because of its premise, or anything of that sort—but because of its association with Microids, a publishing house that, to be fair, hasn’t exactly had the greatest track record of porting classic cartoons over to the mainstream media network in recent years. But alas, I was certainly keen to give the aptly titled Inspector Gadget: Mad Time Party a whirl, if not to prove myself wrong, then to scratch that itch for something purely nostalgic.

In case you haven’t heard about it in the, what—eight or nine months since its inception, that’s simply down to the fact that, well, it hasn’t been as well advertised as it probably should have been. Needless to say that fans of the cult classic cartoon will have already slugged through the latest party game and scrubbed it of all its mini-games and technicalities. But that’s another story. For now, it’s just one guy’s long-lost obsession with the Inspector, reborn.

So, the question is this: Is Inspector Gadget: Mad Time Party worth the price of admission, or is it one for the bargain bin, and a mere stain on the acclaimed franchise? Well, speaking from a fan’s perspective, here’s what I can currently say about it. Go-go…review? I don’t know, man.

Which Decade Is It?

From the moment you step into Metro City, an iconic locale that, quite frankly, needs no introduction, you’re immediately presented with a relatively small open world, as well as a number of blimps on a map coursing you to take part in a series of mini-games. What you’re also presented with, sadly, is some god-awful voice acting, performance issues, and not to mention graphics that would make even the likes of Rugrats in Paris blush in secondhand embarrassment. Not a good start on any account—especially for those who’ve yearned to return to the boots of the curious Inspector. Water under the bridge, though, for this is indeed an Inspector Gadget game—and the name speaks volumes, apparently.

Once you’ve successfully managed to outlive the lengthy loading times and brush off the jagged visuals, you’re pretty much left to navigate Metro City as you see fit. Unfortunately, the novelty soon wears off when you realize that, other than the fact that you’re filling the boots of the Inspector, there’s nothing else to look forward to. Sure, there are objectives to complete, but nothing particularly exciting as far as future plot points travel.

While on the subject of plot points, Mad Time Party tells a tale that’s not only predictable, but also a little bare bones and without any real context. To put it short, Metro City is on the verge of being overrun by the notorious Dr. Claw, and it’s your job, essentially, to complete a series of mini-games to defeat him and restore the metropolis to its former glory. That’s it.

Speaking of Mini-Games…

There are 16 mini-games in total, all of which make up around sixty or so minutes of total gameplay time. Given the fact that you can mop up the bulk of said tasks in a few minutes or less, this means that you can see all that there is to see in, I don’t know, an hour? That’s not great, what with the product being a full-fledged $30, but you know, fine. Slowly but surely, that reputation slowly starts to wither and become somewhat questionable. Again, it’s Inspector Gadget, but boy, it doesn’t take long for those cracks to start revealing themselves.

The good news is, you can tackle all of the mini-games with friends, as the game itself is surprisingly very multiplayer-friendly, and thus offers a couple of excuses to wrangle a team together for the sake of keeping idle hands out of pockets for a short while. However, due to said games being one-and-done types of gigs, there isn’t a whole lot to come back to once you’ve finally managed to breeze through the story and, you know, save the day.

The mini-games themselves are simple enough to complete—as they should be, what with the game leaning more towards a family-friendly aesthetic than anything else. For the most part, you’re either asked to cut a few wires to defuse a bomb, collect a bunch of floating stars, or sift through a few randomized crates. Again, you can complete each of these tasks with a few other players, so there’s definitely a competitive edge to it. However, after you’ve mastered a couple of rounds and reaped the rewards for doing so, there isn’t exactly any incentive for you to return.

It’s Certainly Nostalgic

Clearly Smart Tale Games had an idea in mind when it came to chalking up the basic outline for Mad Time Party; it wanted to deliver something nostalgic, right down to the monotone voice acting and sound design. Having said that, the game itself runs like a dated PlayStation One game, too—an element that comes as a huge surprise, given how far along we’ve come since the double decade-old console. It’s nostalgic, sure, but I at least expected the game to run smoothly, and not, you know, crawl along with barely any frames to boot.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the devs opted to feature an open world Metro City for the game’s hub, but even that comes across as clunky and somewhat boring. There isn’t a whole lot to it, as it goes, and again, the novelty of exploring it all quickly diminishes and becomes more of a chore than a challenge. Fortunately, you’re only in the city for less than an hour, so by the time you’ve reached the end, your eyes aren’t exactly at the point of bleeding from the sockets. That’s a plus, I guess.

Of course, if we were to remove the shockingly bad visuals and voiceovers, there would be something of a mediocre game here—at least in the eyes of a younger, less experienced gamer. And that’s exactly what Mad Time Party is, really — a game that’s suited for a younger gamer, and not, for example, someone who stepped into the party with high hopes of seeing the Inspector making a grand return with all the bells and whistles to boot.


Don’t get me wrong, I can see what Smart Tale Games’ intentions were with this one, but having endured the initial bulk of the experience and wedged a handful of mini-games under my belt, I can honestly say that, nostalgia fodder or not—Inspector Gadget: Mad Time Party just isn’t a good game. It’s a game, alright, but that’s about as far as it goes. And that’s sad, truly, because the developer would’ve had an entire ocean of material to utilize in the drawing room, yet they failed to make the right choices needed to make it truly sparkle.

When all’s said and done, Mad Time Party had the chance to represent the franchise and give it a well-needed modernized look. The reality is, though, that Smart Tale Games took the trust of Gadget die-hards and used it as a vessel to ship the product and hammer down a few more sales. Or at least, that’s what it comes across as, anyway, as made clear by the game’s poor design, lazy writing, and above all, monotonous mini-games that have next to nothing going for them—much less any replay value whatsoever.

If you was to ask me what I honestly thought about Mad Time Party, I’d probably wince and walk away without so much as a word. Having said that, there’s nothing to say that a toddler won’t find enjoyment in it. For old timers such as myself, though, it’s a pretty poor excuse for a video game, and in no way shape, or form, worth the $30 price tag. Sorry, Inspector.

Inspector Gadget: Mad Time Party Review (Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, Switch & PC)

Go-Go Garbage Can!

Due to its awfully long loading times and overall poor design choices, it’s hard to recommend Inspector Gadget: Mad Time Party to anyone who’s over the age of four. Perhaps that’s the exact demographic Smart Tale Games was aiming for? Either way, the harsh truth is this: party game or not, there’s just no fixing this broken invention.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.