Your birthday is ruined when your dad is dad-napped by a madman! Now you, your pet rock, and Sparkles the giraffe will have to fight your way through levels filled with platforming, bizarre enemies, and big bosses in the name of friendship and hotdogs to save the world!
I’ve had my eye on The Adventure Pals for a little while now, and it has most certainly done the rounds, being featured quite extensively.
Its vibrant style and meticulous attention to detail has captured the attention of gamers the world over. But not all gamers have fallen in love. On Steam, The Adventure Pals, has had a small yet significant amount of criticism, most of which surrounds the game’s relatively flat difficulty curve. And after playing, I can see where that criticism arises from.
It is quite clear to me that the game was designed for a younger audience, perhaps the 7 – 15. Not that it isn’t playable and enjoyable by older gamers, though the experience has some clear tropes are often linked to that younger age group. Things like:
Excessive fanfare. Confetti confetti confetti, I hope you like confetti. At times the screen was bursting with so many colours that I felt like I was at a kids birthday party, which is not inherently a bad thing – but it sets the scene. One filled with sticker books, cutesy characters, no-gore, pinatas, (yes there are enemy pinatas), and so on. Clean fun.
I had a free-flowing fun time in my first 30 minutes of game-play, where I blazed through the first two areas with relative ease. Actually, at no point did I ever really feel threatened by the AI or platforming. A seasoned player of sides-scrollers will plow through enemies without any resistance, with level design being equally simple to negotiate.
There are puzzles to be found in The Adventure Pals, though they aren’t exactly mind bending. In fact most the puzzles you encounter can be solve intuitively, without leaning at all on your mental problem-solving faculties. But again, this is not inherently a problem, but it does push it towards a more casual stress-free experience.
I am convinced the developer has thought carefully about what this experience is. It’s a feel-good experience that balances several platforming systems and power ups into a little bundle that is easy to digest by a wide spectrum of gamer. This makes it a little unique in a sense, as so many games are currently going for the ‘super hard’ rage experience.
I can see The Adventure Pals being at home on the Switch, where the audience aligns more appropriately to the content. This is no Monster Boy, let it be known. But it is an experience worth having, filled with plenty of gorgeous content and good feels.
As a self styled connoisseur of game art, the visual spectacle is worth the price of admission alone, especially so if you can nab the game on a discount.
The biggest flaw in the game is the lack of platforming variety, there is a lot of vertical-flow, with the old zig-zag wall jump trope.
And at times the level does not visually lead you in a meaningful direction. Though this may be by design, so to encourage the player to explore further. All in all, a nice one to have in the library, especially if you like to play games with your kids. But we warned, if you are a hardcore gamer and love your Super Meat Boy level of rage quitting challenge, I dare say The Adventure Pals may not scratch your itch.
Enjoy the below gameplay preview, as I play through the first 30 minutes of the game!