Earlier this year, when it was safe to do so once the pandemic restrictions were lifted, I took my daughter to the cinema to see PAW Patrol: The Movie. She had watched a few episodes of PAW Patrol before, and general loves anything animated, so I knew it would be a hit with her. It certainly was and I was also surprised by how much I enjoyed the movie myself, impressed by the quality of the visuals and that the story actually had some growth in it through largely focussing on the lead PAW Patrol pup, Chase.
Coinciding with the movie, the computer game tie-in – PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls – loosely follows the main events of the film and is developed by Drakhar Studio, who had created the previous PAW Patrol game – PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay. They were also both published by the family-friendly publisher, Outright Games.
My daughter turns 4 next month and I’ve tried to introduce her to computer games at an early age. She has enjoyed watching me play a few games, such as Abzu and Beyond Blue as she likes the animals, but they both didn’t keep her attention for long. She has even had a little go playing Super Mario World which, even as a 2D platformer, was still a little hard for her to grasp as Mario moves quickly and trying to jump on enemies was not easy for her.
PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls is a 3D adventure platformer with very simple gameplay mechanics and no enemies to fight. I thought this could be the perfect game for my daughter to develop her gaming skills, and I was right. As previously stated, the game is based on the events of the movie, where the PAW Patrol squad led by 10-year-old Ryder and featuring the pups Chase, Marshall, Skye, Zuma, Rocky and new to the movie Liberty, learn that the series’ antagonist Humdinger has become mayor of Adventure City and they must now travel from Adventure Bay to save the city from his selfish scheming.
The main story is played out over 8 missions that largely take place in the city and park locations. During the missions, the player controls either of two pups that can be switched between by a simple press of a button. The game can also be played by two players via local co-op, with each controlling a pup separately.
Each mission has a certain number of doggy biscuit treats to be collected by traversing the level. This involves the player running around and jumping on different obstacles, such as benches and shop fronts, to collect the treats. Some of them are hidden slightly off the beaten path, but generally, it’s very easy to find them all along with collecting the three PAW Patrol badges that are hidden within the levels too.
My daughter found controlling the pups with the analogue stick to be easy and just having to jump to collect the items and avoid obstacles was very manageable for her.
During the levels, there are sections where you must use specific gadgets from the pups to overcome an obstacle, such as Rubble using his drill to clear debris and Marshall using his axe to chop up fallen trees. My daughter loved these parts as she could hammer the Cross button or wiggle the analogue stick to overcome the obstacle, plus these little sections helped to break up the levels from just collecting doggy treats. There is also a mission that features the pup Zuma, where the game switches from 3D platforming to a 2D side-scrolling platformer for an underwater section which involves collecting more treats as well as three electrical parts to move the story forward. These sections, again, were very easy for my daughter to control and offered a welcome change of scenery too.
During each mission, it even features a vehicle section too, which helps to add yet more variety to each level. These utilise the pup’s trademark vehicles, so Chase has you controlling his patrol car and Marshall uses his fire truck, for example. These driving sections are good fun as you move between three road lanes to collect treats and avoid obstacles.
The only slight problem is that there seems to be a small delay in pressing the button to move left or right and the vehicle actually switching between the lanes. This makes it quite hard to collect certain treats as the vehicles move surprisingly fast, especially if you have driven over a speed boost, so trying to get from lane 1 to lane 3 quickly doesn’t always work as expected. My daughter didn’t mind though as it would always make her laugh if she crashed into an obstacle.
I was also quite impressed that there was even variety within each character’s driving sections as with Skye, you take to the skies in her helicopter and have to avoid floating balloons, while with Rocky and his bin lorry, you don’t collect doggy treats but bags of rubbish on the road instead.
On replaying the missions, which of course happened often as my daughter wanted to constantly play as her favourite pup, Skye, I was welcomed to find that the collectable doggy treats had turned blue if you had already collected them, making it very easy to spot any that you had previously missed. This was a nice touch, especially as there are a multitude of PlayStation Trophies linked to collecting every collectable within the levels. Obviously, my daughter had no care about Trophy hunting, but as a parent that wanted at least some challenge to playing the game, collecting all the Trophies made the game much more interesting for me to play.
PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls‘ visuals are bold, bright and colourful. The textures are rather plain, and each mission repeats the same stretch of city or park scenery often, but there are at least some good background details within the environments such as cars driving along the road and people walking or having conversations with each other. This helped make the city feel alive and lived in. At the start of each mission, Ryder – the leader of PAW Patrol, would introduce the story and is fully voice-acted, however, the pups don’t speak at all during the game, which I found disappointing. Though my daughter didn’t even notice this, it would have been nice to have had them talk so that they better represented their characters from the TV series and movie.
Story missions aside, there are a good number of mini-games on offer to add extra variety and depth to PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls. The mini-games also include Time Trials, which feature the vehicle sections from the main missions. Each pup has a vehicle time trial across three levels that have progressively more treats to collect. Zuma even has an underwater vehicle trial in his submarine that isn’t featured within the main missions, so that was an unexpected surprise. An alternative time trial on offer just features the pups and not any vehicles – this just has the pups running and jumping on ramps to collect doggy treats across two lanes.
My daughter found the latter mini-game incredibly dull as you simply collect treats on one side, then the other, alternating between them with no extra obstacles to avoid. It’s a shame as the vehicle time trials are much more fun and challenging.
The other mini-games on offer include Collect-Them-All, where you simply have to collect doggy treats in an allotted time across three different maps – Tower, Park and City, and an Obstacle Race mode where you have to jump through a green ring that moves around a set obstacle course across the same map locations as the Collect-Them-All game. Again, these are good fun but it’s the final mini-game mode on offer that my daughter really enjoyed – Pup Pup Boogie!
Much like dance rhythm games, you have to press the controller button that matches the one moving up the screen once it reaches a large green box. While doing so, the pup you have chosen does some funky dance moves which had my daughter in fits of giggles, especially when Rubble spins on his head. It was quite good seeing that each pup has its own specific dance moves too. This is a great mini-game for helping to teach my daughter where each button is on the controller and can also be played as two players against each other for a bit of healthy competition.
Overall, I was impressed by the variety of the mini-games on offer and they helped add more replayability to the game as I know my daughter will want to keep coming back just to play more Pup Pup Boogie. Again, for Trophy hunters, there are trophies linked to the mini-games so it makes them well worth playing to gain the Platinum trophy. Also, by collecting the doggy treats throughout all the game modes (30,000 of them in total!), you progressively unlock character and vehicles models within a viewing gallery under the Collectables screen, which is another nice added touch.
Unfortunately, PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls does have some minor framerate issues and bugs. One rather annoying bug happened when a gadget section failed to load when trying to access it, so I couldn’t move the pup at all or do anything, and therefore had to exit and restart the level. Also, when initiating these sections by standing on the coloured badge and pressing the interact button, it doesn’t always do it straight away and you have to run around a bit and return to the badge for it to work properly.
Quite often you will also find that the pup you aren’t controlling, which follows you through the level, will get stuck on scenery or go completely missing. Thankfully, this never impeded progress as they would always just reappear out of thin air when needed. Lastly, the load times, especially on loading the main missions, are quite lengthy – even when playing the game on a PS5. This is especially surprising considering the game isn’t a graphical powerhouse or has particularly long and complicated levels to load.
My daughter and I had fully completed the game, which included me replaying some of the levels and mini-games to gain all the collectables and achieve the Platinum trophy, within 5 hours. Whereas I would usually now be finished with the game, for my daughter, there is plenty of replayability and I would easily recommend the game for a child aged 4-5 years old to get into computer games. I think any children over this age might find the game quite basic and a little too repetitive, but if they are fans of PAW Patrol then they will still get some fun from it.
I would, however, add that I think £34.99 for a children’s movie tie-in game is a tad steep. A £24.99 or less price point would be much more reasonable for what the game offers, so it might be worth waiting for a sale before purchasing.
Overall, for my first time playing a game specifically aimed at children, I had a great time playing PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls with my daughter. It’s the first game that has truly captivated her and she could pick up and play herself. She would never fully complete it or find all of the collectables without my help, but as she grows older the game will at least help teach her the mechanics that she will need for more complex games. There is a good amount of variety within each mission and a fun selection of mini-games to keep my daughter wanting to keep coming back to play the game.
The PAW Patrol team is most certainly ‘on a roll’ and it’s well worth visiting Adventure City to enjoy this child-friendly game.
PAW Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls£34.99
- - Simple children-friendly gameplay mechanics
- - Each mission has a good variety of different gameplay sections
- -Colourful vibrant characters and environments
- -Fun mini-games
- - Has some framerate issues, bugs and load times are quite long
- - PAW Patrol pups not voice-acted
- - Vehicle sections while fun, aren’t responsive enough
- - Steep price