Sunday, April 8

Review: The Adventure Pals [Nintendo Switch eShop]


There’s nothing quite like playing a game that manages to make you smile and laugh along the way. While its humor may not necessarily appeal to everyone for me The Adventure Pals did just that. Mixing its very quirky art style that’s reminiscent of bits and pieces of popular cartoons, silly situations, and plenty of things that are cute and filled with giggles its gameplay may be a bit straightforward but its design and sense of fun is anything but.


You play the part of a little boy who is set on a journey to save his grandfather, and apparently all other old people, from being turned into hot dogs by the nefarious Mr. B… whose motivations for his evil plot are the well-stated: “REASONS”. Thankfully you won’t be alone in your journey, as you’ll have your faithful giraffe pal Sparkles available to help you Banjo-Kazooie style from out of your backpack and you’ll quickly gain the aid of Mr. Rock (who is, literally, a rock) as well. If it all sounds completely preposterous you’d be correct, and all along the journey you’ll meet people (and non-people) who have a variety of problems they need your help with. Completing these will take you through the game’s 5 worlds, each with its own flavor of weirdness and fun.

The gameplay itself is primarily highly traditional action platforming, but with some cute quirkiness thrown in care of help from your pals, particularly the handy Sparkles. Using him as a wrench or grappling hook, among other things, he helps you navigate through the more puzzle-like elements in the world. Mr. Rock has his own part to play, helping you hit various targets and in combat as well. There are some pick-ups to help out as well to help you in a pinch, but on a general level the game’s challenge level is more focused towards fun than hardcore. Along your journey as you explore, knock out enemies, and find hidden goodies you’ll accumulate experience that will then level you up periodically. At this point you’ll be prompted to choose among a few perks that have quite different effects and can help you cater the experience more to your liking or to what you may want help with.


While the combat and puzzles generally feel really good no platformer of this kind would be complete without cleverly-hidden areas that just outside the main drag for you to find. In each level there’s a hidden cupcake (find them all and you’ll unlock a hat to wear) and in each overall stage there’s a hidden sticker for your collection. Trying to find everything that is hidden continues to layer some extra exploration challenges into the experience as the game slowly inches towards a higher challenge as a whole. While it’s all pretty light and silly I won’t lie, these silly things were the icing on the cake of a reward for putting in the extra effort to find everything and are appreciated.

It’s likely any and all criticism of the game would be centered either on the cutesy nature of it all or its more modest level of difficulty but given the abundance of brutally-hard platformers on the system already The Adventure Pals is a welcome change of pace. While it can easily be enjoyed as a solo experience the inclusion of co-op in the game is a great touch, and given its more modest overall difficulty it would seem perfectly suited to being played with someone younger or less experienced. If you’re able to play the game without cracking a smile at the sheer joy of it all you may be dead inside.


Score: 8.5

Pros: 
  • Light, silly, and fun
  • Hidden objects are abundant
  • Leveling up allows you to choose among perks that can help you in a variety of ways
  • Includes HATS!

Cons:
  • Its silly sense of humor may not appeal to everyone
  • Overall its level of challenge is relatively modest