Games should provide a release from the norm, an escape from reality to a world that entertains, captures the imagination and is ultimately, fun to play. I know I don’t need to remind gamers why we play games, but it feels as though sometimes games can take themselves too seriously, choosing to focus on better graphics, different modes rather than what matters most – how it plays. This is where The Adventure Pals excels over other games, reminding us all not to take things as seriously.
This delightful, bright platform comes from indie developer Massive Monster putting all focus on fun.
The bonkers story shows how The Adventure Pals wants the game to be received – your main priority is to rescue your dad from an evil villain intent on turning people into hot dogs… Yes, hot dogs. I take mine with lots of mustard sauce and onions please! While one of the characters a pig – because, why not?
Together, with your trusty pals Mr. Sparkles (the giraffe) and Mr. Rock (funnily enough is a rock) you must stop the evil villain and, in the process, earn rupees from travelling through various levels strewn across a map. You can pick and choose what tasks you wish to do – simply by speaking to different characters who give mainly fetch and bring style quests within a level.
While the story is nothing special, the overall package of the is. The super cute graphics, adorable animations and quirky characters make the game feel like a living breathing bonkers world waiting to be explored. It’s not too dissimilar to Adventure Time in terms of art style and humour – which isn’t a bad thing though some parts do feel as though it has been lifted directly from the Cartoon Network show.
The gameplay is a real stand out – being able to jump, hover with Mr. Sparkles (he uses his tongue to create a sort of helicopter blade) and generally explore levels for secrets – there are cupcakes hidden throughout along with stickers to find – some easier than others. The cupcakes can then be used to buy extra items or upgrades. The Adventure Pals works well with its levelling up system – collect XP that enemies have dropped that will eventually level up your character & can pick up an upgrade. Or use cupcakes to unlock more characters / animals joining you in your quest.
Simple controls blend together the ease of playing – but oddly, menu items are selected with the B button – something I personally find difficult to do, when so used to pressing A. It’s nothing major that most people won’t even give a second thought to – but for me, using the B just didn’t feel right.
Enemies are imaginative and varied. Some take a simple hit from your sword and are gone, and others are a little more complex needing several hits, maybe a block / nudge back to avoid their attacks and hey presto. Sometimes, there can be too many enemies attacking at once (levels are strewn with a group of enemies suddenly falling from the sky onto you) which can make things difficult to slay them all at once.
The sounds are great, and music isn’t as annoying as I anticipated it to be which says a lot from a simple platformer as most have repetitive and uninspiring accompaniments. It’s a welcome change.
You can play drop in multiplayer too – something I didn’t really bother with but a neat feature nonetheless!
The Adventure Pals is a joy to play. It feels familiar in some sort of way, like a flavour you’ve once tried and long forgotten about. It manages to create a simple, fun experience without seeming to go to much effort. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, seeming to craft a brilliant little plat former with cutsey looks but a lot of depth is there too. It’s a must have game that maybe won’t last that long, but you’ll have fun playing it, leaving a lasting impression that a good game should.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.