If you’ve ever wanted to be punched in the face with absurd amounts of imagination and insanity (similar to being on an acid trip), then The Adventure Pals is the game for you. It has the same fun absurdity as many modern shows you see on Cartoon Network today. And although the gameplay isn’t anything special or innovative, it’s still a fun ride that’s entertaining and it has the potential of being many kids’ first favorite game.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch
Publisher: Armor Games
Developer: Massive Monster
Release Date: April 3, 2018
This review is based on a review code provided by Armor Games.
The Adventure Pals is an action-platformer with a couple of RPG elements sprinkled in. You play as Wilt, a young boy who has the misfortune of his Papa being kidnapped to be turned into a hotdog. As Wilt, it’s up to you to save your Papa and stop the evil Mr. B and his maniacal plan of turning all elderly people into delicious hotdogs. The journey can feel a bit floaty, especially when comparing it to the staples such as Mario or Donkey Kong. Luckily, the floaty platforming is balanced out with your giraffe companion, Sparkles. Our long-necked companion acts as a sort of propeller to help you glide safely to each platform, and amusingly so since he uses his tongue as the propellor. Again, it’s not the best in terms of platformers, but it gets the job done and is still fun to get from point A to B.
As for level variety, things can get a bit stale. The pacing between establishing a mechanic and introducing a new one takes a bit too long, and even then there only slight differences. The same can also be said for enemy-types, especially when it comes to taking them down. Although it can be satisfying to just mash the attack button and see the enemy’s health bar whittle down, after doing the same encounter for a couple of hours, monotony does set in. The game does make up for it when it comes to the boss fights, but only in terms of visuals. Bosses are huge and provide a lot of spectacles as you play, but it can only last for so long since they lack any sort of difficulty.
While The Adventure Pals lacks in both level and enemy variety, it makes up for it by giving you a ton of collectibles to find. Spread throughout each section of the game, and even in the overworld map, are collectibles for you to find which come in the form of either cupcakes or stickers. These add a sense of difficulty if you plan on collecting everything 100%. Some are easier to find than others, but then there are those you can grab by simply going through the level. Overall, they’re not hard to collect. Also, the general rule of thumb is that each section of every level has a cupcake to find, while the entire level only has one sticker. This provides great replay value as they’re the incentives you need to get cute costumes for you and your pet rock.
Aside from the ton of collectibles, The Adventure Pals provides a great sense of progression with its leveling up system. Although mashing attack on mindless enemies can get monotonous after a while, it’s still satisfying to see that level up screen knowing you have a skill to unlock. Although there’s no skill tree, there is a sense of progression to be had moving from one skill to the next. Leveling up doesn’t take too long either, where you can level up around 4 or 5 times in each island – similar to a world in a Mario RPG game. The skills you get are something you find in just about any RPG; with the focus either being on character attributes, such as acquiring experience faster or expanding your coin magnet radius, to unlocking more attack and defense abilities.
Although, The Adventure Pals does a great job integrating RPG mechanics with a platformer, it does commit an RPG sin. It’s a small, but annoying, inconvenience that does make you weary when spending money. What I’m basically getting at is that there are no descriptions for items in the item shop. It’s a small oversight that causes a bigger problem whenever you have to purchase something. Coins are abundant in the game, so there’s no need to be cautious when it comes to overspending, but this problem could have easily been avoided.
Although, one aspect that can’t be avoided, or denied, with The Adventure Pals is its presentation. The game oozes personality, which is reminiscent of Saturday morning cartoons and even has a hint of animation you can find on Newgrounds. Whatever idea it can throw at you, it will. From a band of hippy foxes, to mindless zombie cats, it definitely has it all. You’ll find yourself in awe with the amount of absurdity it has to offer, and this just adds more to the game’s charm. Complimenting everything is the soundtrack as it screams whimsical absurdity with its blend of chiptune and pop rock string accompaniment. From top to bottom, the game is a joy to look at and listen to, and those two things are the biggest reason you should jump in and try it.
Overall The Adventure Pals is an absurd ride that will definitely grab your kid’s attention, and perhaps even you, who are kids at heart. It’s sure to bring a smile to your face, even on the rainiest of days, just from its cute character designs alone. Although the gameplay itself isn’t the best out there, it’s still fun to play, even if it’s just something to knock out over the weekend.