The Adventure Pals is, “a quirky game about friendship involving a small boy and the crazy adventures he goes on with his giraffe and pet rock. The boy must explore his childhood as he goes on an epic quest to rescue his papa from being turned into a hot dog.” - The Adventure Pals official website
The Adventure Pals released on April 3rd for the Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch. It seems to have been well received, earning a 75 on Metacritic (under its PS4 listing). Developed by Massive Monster and published by Armor Games Studios, The Adventure Pals was funded on Kickstarter, just barely passing their goal of £21,450 (~$30,419).
I personally picked up The Adventure Pals on a whim. It looked fun, and incredibly cute. As the game is a 2D platformer, I did not expect to encounter a very deep story. I was also a bit worried, as the game heavily resembles the show Adventure Time. I was unsure whether the game would be enjoyable for someone who has not watched the show. I was pleasantly surprised though, as the game is only artistically influenced. The story is completely one of its own.
As a 2D platformer, I did not expect the game to have very much of a story. But boy, was I surprised!! I absolutely loved the story and humor in this game. You play as a boy who receives his new best friend, a giraffe named Sparkles, for his birthday from his parents. But you don’t have much time to bask in your new-found friendship, since Mr. B decides to turn your father into a Hot Dog. The boy decides that his only option is to chase after Mr. B, in attempts to save his father from the evil mastermind. He takes off with both Sparkles and Mr. Rock, his other best friend, and has the adventure of a lifetime. While the character is out adventuring, the player is in for some gut busting fun of their own. It is clear that the creators of this game wanted everyone to have a good time, while still delivering a quality platforming experience. They included so many jokes that were meant to be enjoyed directly by the player. This was part of what I enjoyed most about the game. It laughed at itself, breaking the fourth wall more than a few times.
The game played effortlessly; I never felt like it was a struggle to learn a mechanic or that a single mechanic was out of place. The controls are quite simple; B for attacking, A for item use, X for changing items, the Left Joystick for movement, and the Right bumper for interacting with the environment. Each level runs similarly: begin the level by heading left or right, try to survive some adorable baddies, make sure to find the collectables along the way, and finally get to the end and collect that sweet plot device of a Ruby! I found the repetition could be a bit underwhelming at times, but it was still enjoyable overall. The character controls the boy, using his trusty sword for a flurry of attacks. It is a sort of button mashing experience, but I felt it worked well. The only flaw I found in the gameplay was that the “Dodge” mechanic was a bit hard to learn and employ. Some of the larger baddies would give the option to dodge (showing an arrow overhead to alert the player), as long as the player times their movements correctly. I found it was hard to do so, but I really cannot be sure whether this is due to user error or a design flaw.
Where the complexity lies in the gameplay is in one’s ability to choose different power ups each time the player levels up the boy’s experience. I personally loved the ability to choose my power ups in each level. With each level, the player is given the choice to choose one of three cards, each having a new skill or perk listed on it. It was a great way to approach perks. I found that I chose perks based on my own play style, versus what may have been the most powerful of the choices. It really made me feel like I could control the outcome of my character’s development.
Sparkles the Giraffe and Mr. Rock the… well, rock… are your two greatest assets throughout their adventure. Mr. Rock is a very basic companion, but one you just cannot live without. He flies around the screen, bashing enemies, activating switches, and even gathering you some sweet loot! Aw, thanks Mr. Rock! Sparkles, on the other hand - hoof? - is a magical giraffe that rides along in the boy’s backpack during levels (don’t ask me how), while allowing the boy to glide over obstacles using Sparkles helicopter tongue, extending his neck to reach far places, turning himself into a motor for underwater propulsion and more! He’s a boy’s best friend.
This game is absolutely beautiful. The art is bright and colourful and the design of the characters is pure whimsy on screen. I love the design of all the characters, as well as the unlockable hats and costumes. The baddies alone make the game worthwhile. Even though each world is basically a reskin of the previous one, they each are just a blast to experience. Each world has its own feeling and atmosphere, which beautifully paints a world that the player can lose themselves in. As well as different colour schemes and overall world designs, each world also shows a variety of different baddies for the player to encounter. Like I mentioned, they may very well be just reskins, but that does not take away from their charm. Who cares if the T-rex in world 2 is just a Zombie Cat from world 1? Both are just play adorable no matter what. The bosses for each world are even more spectacular; each one staying with the player even after the battle is over.
The music and sound of the game is not the most spectacular experience I have ever heard, but it definitely works well with the game. It feels well suited to the title, offering unique experiences in each world and level. While I did enjoy it, it is nothing I would write home to Mama about.
This game completely caught me by surprise. While I did not expect for it to last very long, it actually came in close to 15 hours of gameplay (100% completion with all achievements; about 12.5 was spent just finishing the main storyline). The story is completely silly and whimsical, which I found to be a relief in a world of games that take themselves too seriously. The gameplay is incredibly satisfying and easy for the average gamer to pick up. The art style is a callback to Adventure Time, but it can still be fully enjoyable for those who have no connection to the series. The price is just right at $14.99, so definitely check this game out next time you want to play something that will keep you laughing level after level.
|Story||Tons of humor, easy plot to follow.||Plot is a bit thin, though the writers acknowledge this.|
|Gameplay||Easy to pick up and play, no deep skill necessary.||Dodge mechanic difficult to use, game feels somewhat button mashy.|
|Quality||Beautiful world, great character designs.||Some framerate drops, but nothing gamebreaking.|
|Music/Sound||Fits the style of the game.||Nothing too revolutionary, a bit forgettable.|
|Arbitrary Final Score|
Review by Bonnie
The Adventure Pals is available now for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch for, $14.99. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.