Release Date: Out Now
Price as of Article: $14,99 £10,79
Let me start off by saying, The Adventure Pals is a game and story which thinks outside of the box, it’s as mad as a box of frogs but in a good way and I want to say straight away so there is absolutely no uncertainty that I like this game and I like it a lot. With the plethora of Platform games on the Switch you may be forgiven for thinking here we go again but with that mindset, you would be missing out on another gem. With games such as Celeste, Super Meat Boy, Slime-San and Splasher as some great Indie game platforming goodness to choose from, you would be forgiven for thinking it’s going to be hard for The Adventure Pals to stand out but stand out it does.
The first thing that draws you in is it’s slightly crazy story. Respect your elders is what I have always been told but the villain here Mr B is turning old people into hot dogs and it’s up to you and your two best friends a giraffe named Sparkles and a rock, that’s right a rock named Mr Rock ( I did say this is a little nuts) to save the world and them. The story was enough to have me intrigued especially when Dad gets kidnapped in the middle of your birthday just as our boy hero receives Sparkles as a present. The story is told via text boxes which is absolutely fine for a game like this.
The audio in The Adventure Pals is an absolute delight, the backing tracks used have this happy go lucky feel about them and I especially loved how the music changed when traversing the map to choose my next adventure. I came across some foxes next to the lighthouse playing instruments, some bongos and a guitar and when you get near them it changes to the song they are playing which is absolute genius. Reminded me of the film There is something about Mary where all of sudden there is a band playing in the background. The music which plays when traversing through the levels is fantastically whimsical and just pure joy to listen too. It made me happy playing the game, it’s just truly how I felt about it.
Visuals and Performance
This game is a delight in the visual department, bright colours used and a palette which consists of yellows greens and blues. The characters are all drawn in a wacky cartoony style which I absolutely appreciated. I love how our friend Sparkles sticks out of the boy’s backpack and how our other friend Mr Rock flies next to you. Just pure fantasy and this is yet another reminder of why we love games so much. There is always something like this which will come along and is a complete surprise in terms of quality. Handheld mode looks just as great as in docked mode with colours being bright and punchy and I really enjoyed playing this on my travels.
There is though, unfortunately, some performance niggles which will stop this game achieving the score I think it really does deserve but the niggles are present. One of those is a noticeably dropped frame every few moments and while it’s not a deal breaker it’s noticeable. Then we have the arena levels which you will come across in each world although it’s only once in each one. There will come points where you will have to battle multiple enemies and there is noticeable slowdown which on these levels bordered on annoying. If the developer could fix these slight issues then it would help recommend this even more.
This is quite a simple 2D side-scrolling platformer which will see you traverse through 5 different worlds, there is added complexity which was a nice surprise. This is a game for all ages and skill levels. It’s a game which invites you to jump in as everything is just so accessible. You can jump and bounce back and forth off walls but your our pal Sparkles has an extra long tongue which you can use as a propeller helicopter style so you can glide which is fantastic. I never tired of using this lovely little perk.
Sparkles is very talented
You can also use the Sparkles tongue to bring enemies closer to you if you choose this perk when you level up adding a nice little RPG element which was unexpected. This perk allows you to bring enemies closer allowing you to continue your hit combo which feels great. Killing enemies is a nice simple and satisfying affair in that you can jump on them or hit them with your sword. Combine this with Mr Rock who can also hit enemies and Sparkles and you have a bunch of pals here which live up to their title of being adventure pals whilst also kicking butt.
You can interact with the levels themselves at certain points where you can press R so you can open up gates, hit certain targets with Mr Rock or open up chests to gather life potions, coins or invincibility potions amongst other things. Sparkles can turn levers with its tongue to open up gates or activate platforms. There are bombs and special powers you can find which last a certain period of time. My personal favourite was unleashing a bunch of small turtles everytime I hit the attack button. It always just made me laugh at them going for it and helping me kill the vast array of different and imaginative enemies. You can also find lightning and poison powers to help you deal with enemies and all are great powers to use.
Hot Dogs and Older People
Kill a hot dog and an old person is released and flies out of it which is one of your objectives, yes it’s as mad as it sounds but so satisfying. At the end of each level you are graded and to get the best grades you must find the hidden cupcakes of which there are 5 on each and you must free an older person. Your run-throughs are also timed and the number of deaths also counted which all contributes to the overall grade. I like the way the levels are broken up into 5 sections allowing you to explore each one and find all the goodies. Each is a nice manageable chunk and also has their own unique and various challenges. Platforms with bombs within them so you have to move quickly, enemies blocking your path or just intricate parts where you have to be careful. furthermore, some levels have you completing certain quests. Your character has a health bar and also a blue levelling up meter.
The number 5
The levels are broken up into 5 sections and the checkpoint is reached at the end of each section in the form of a water well. Reach the end and you collect a red gem. The gems need to be collected to reach the next world and usually require 5 of them to move on. Seems like there is a theme of the number 5 here. Once you finish a level you then get to control our character by riding Sparkles who somehow manages to get out of your backpack! with a top-down view. You can’t die in these zones but it’s a nice way to keep the game flowing. It allows you to meet more characters and to find more quests. You may meet a whale who requires a bright red thong so good luck on your quest finding it! This area allows you to progress the story and to hand in quests. It’s a really nice way to link all of the worlds together while also monitoring your progression.
Whats really nice about this game is it’s neither easy but it’s not too hard either and is one of those games which is not going to cause you pain and frustration to play. The game gets progressively more difficult but every level and boss I played against didn’t require loads of retries which for some people is just not their idea of fun especially for those where time is limited.
The Right Balance
I think this game strikes the balance just right and is a really nice change up to all the really difficult platformers we have had. I also liked that you can gather up experience points and level up giving you the opportunity to choose a new skill. My favourite was choosing the ability for Mr Rock to fly me out of spikes if I ever fell in them. Before that perk, it was one hit equals death affair. Level up and you will get to choose between 3 new perks with each new level reached, for example, a larger bag, Sparkles drawing enemies towards him with is tongue or Mr Rock pulling you out of spikes.
In terms of controls they are really nice and tight and while sometimes the character feels a tiny bit floaty it didn’t hinder the gameplay for me in any way. Movements felt precise which is always important in a platform game, combat felt just as satisfying. Slaying enemies and learning their patterns to take them down was never too much trouble. Bosses are of course a little more on the challenging side but again once you learned their patterns they were easy enough to defeat.
Pals inside and out
Lastly, if you want to play the game with a friend the game caters for that too, allowing two players to play at the same time. So the title of the game does not just extend to the pals within and it’s really nice to be able to enjoy the game with a friend.
The game has loads of replay value as you will probably want to perfect the levels by getting a better time, collecting all the cupcakes and making sure you save all of the old people in the game. There is also a sticker book collection that you are bound to want to fill up and finding all of them will take you a little while to do.The game is an absolute joy to play and so I can see many continuing to get 100% completion on this after the credits roll. Add in the fact that you can enjoy the adventure with a friend and there is plenty of reasons to keep playing once the credits roll. For £10,79 or $14,99 it’s worth every penny.
Wacky Whimsical Story
Some slight performance issues