Platformers are an interesting genre. Almost as old as video games themselves, it’s a genre whose basic formula hasn’t really changed much in the past 50ish years but has nonetheless managed to keep us entertained for hours on end. Although this basic formula hasn’t really changed much, we’ve seen some incredible additions, reinventions and mechanics added over these many years and as a result reviewing a platformer in at this point in gaming history is always a fun and challenging experience. This is our Adventure Pals review on the PC.
Adventure Pals from developer Massive Monster, presents itself as a zany, wacky, fun platforming experience with a nonsensical story and some pretty interesting characters. With local co-op, collectables and even a hint of an RPG progression system this crazy looking title throw a lot at a new player. After sending the last week with the game and putting it through some of the most grewling tests I could muster, namely taking turns playing with my 8 and four-year-old, I have to say that Adventure Pals surprised me.
Adventure Pals finds you, the player, starting the day by celebrating your birthday. All seems right in the world for about five minutes before your grandfather is kidnapped, his best friend sets about turning all the adults into hotdogs, and the world starts to fall apart. Of course one cannot simply stand by while the world is turned to hot dogs so you set out on this grand adventure to free the enslaved adults, stop the bad guys and save the world, all while collecting cupcakes; it is your birthday after all! Oh did I mention that you quickly partner up with a magical giraffe and pet rock who both come to your aid in navigating the world, solving puzzles and defeating the bad guys?
As mentioned it’s a wacky premise but does allow for some great game mechanics and world-building both of which are on full display throughout your gameplay. Levels are well designed offering just enough challenge to feel rewarding when completed but at the same time not rage inducing, controller destroying affairs. The setting also allows for some great puzzle building with your aforementioned pet rock and magical giraffe offering a host of abilities that aid in platforming your way through the levels. It creates a really fun and engaging experience both for old guys like me as well as the up and coming gamers like my kids.
In fact, one of the greatest features with Adventure Pals is the local co-op experience. I was a bit concerned with the thought of a local co-op platformer as some of my earlier experiences with this type of play on other platformers hasn’t always faired well. However Massive Monster has done a great job at handling its co-op experience so sitting down to play with your young ones or players of differing skill levels can be a fun experience for everyone. I spent a few hours this week playing through the game with my son and daughter and we found that there were never those moments of waiting for the other player. If one player gets a head of the other the game simply moves the player that is lagging behind up to the other and they can continue together. As someone who is still terrible at platformers, it was nice that my kids didn’t have to constantly wait for me during our playtime.
Speaking of playtime the controls for Adventure Pals are great. Everything feels responsive and tight which helps a lot with the jumping, swinging and combat that take place in the game. Even with a wide variety of different platforming mechanics that are present in the game, the controls are handled well with only using a few buttons. This makes it a great title to play with younger kids who are still getting used to using a controller. As for our play tests I can say with certainty that both my kids gave the controls a 10 out of 10 for ease of use.
The final area I wanted to touch on was the progression systems present here.Pals offers a few different means of progression with the most obvious one being collectables. Each level comes with a set amount of cupcakes that can be collected which in turn can be traded in for Rubys. These rubies are used to help save people in game so collecting said cupcakes can be a great shot in the arm towards beating the game. Each level contains a sticker book at as well which, for the completionists, will see you scouring the levels time and time again looking for their secret hiding place.
My favorite progression mechanic in Adventure Pals, however, comes in the form of player level rewards in the form of buff cards. As you progress through the game your character collects XP which works towards leveling your character. At each player level, you can choose from three different cards each with a unique buff that becomes a permanent part of your character. There are a lot of options to choose from with some of the highlights including the vacuum mod which sucks up all the coins near you, or the giraffe combo mod adds a grapple attack to your next attack after so many attacks in a combo. It really allows for some customization and adds to the overall fun and engagement in the game.
Adventure Pals is a great platformer for all ages. From the great, wacky story and visuals to the tight controls and smart progression systems, It has something for the whole family. Make no mistakes this is a family game that really is fun to play together. With it coming to all platforms April 3 there really is little reason not to pick up this side scrolling, platforming gem.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on PC with a code provided by PR.
FINAL ADVENTURE PALS REVIEW SCORE: 9.5/10
- Fun for the whole family
- Easy to pick up and play
- Fun, smart level design
- Where is the four player goodness?!