The Adventure Pals is a witty, crazy, wacky, fun platformer for gamers of all ages and skill levels. Developer Massive Monster and Publisher Armor Games have brought us a game which will not only keep you entertained for 8-10 hours but also make you laugh out loud at some of the obscure and imaginative dialogue contained within this rather original story. Complete with local co-op, plenty of collectables, and even a level up system akin to Tesla vs. Lovecraft, The Adventure Pals is full of interesting mechanics and ideas.
I’ve just finished the game a few hours ago and achieved all but one bugged-out trophy (which is being fixed) and I feel I have a lot to say about the game. So, grab your pork flavoured wife, your multi-tool giraffe, and your pet rock and come with me as I talk about what I think of this amazing little platformer…
Our story begins with our protagonist about to celebrate his birthday with his grandfather. You follow him as you learn the basics of combat and general platforming until you come to your present, a giant cake which you wish was full of exotic dancers! However, your present is much better than that – it’s your very own giraffe! Suddenly, the best day of your life becomes the worst as your grandfather is kidnapped by your best friend?!?! What evil plan does he have in store for him? Just the usual – he wishes to turn him, and everyone else, into walking hotdogs of course.
And so your adventure begins, you set out with you ‘Kazooie’-like giraffe who will remain secluded in your backpack until you require its services as a wrench or as a ride. Also accompanying you on your journey will be your walking, talking pet rock who will not only learn how to save you from falling to your death but will also learn other combat based skills in order to help you out during combat. On top of traversing four rather big maps with levels containing various ‘stages’, you will also be on the lookout for sticker packs and cupcakes (for your birthday) and face off against a lot of varied enemies and bosses. This is going to be a birthday our protagonist will never forget.
The game isn’t only about combat though as there are numerous environmental puzzles, item quests, tasks assigned by NPCs and even various situation changing choices where you must pick one option over another which in turn changes what happens in the town. The question is, can you save Papa before he becomes a full-on human hotdog hybrid or is it too late to ketchup to our antagonist and prevent him from being a Weiner and having all of the bun!?!?
So, the game is crazy! The dialogue, the premise, the NPCs, the character models – all crazy (in a good way) – one thing which isn’t crazy though is the controls! This game is as solid as they come in terms of the mechanics surrounding the controls which is great as a platformer like this is only as good as its controls. Every single movement, attack and action were 100% responsive, nothing felt laggy or hard to perform and if I died then it was my fault.
Aside from your standard walking and jumping mechanics you also have the ability to glide using your giraffe’s tongue as a helicopter, throw your pet rock at things, operate switches, wall jump, and even use various items like bombs, health packs, and thongs. Everything is mapped perfectly to the controller as well with nothing confusing or complicated, unlike a few other games I have been playing recently. Anyone can pick up and play the game with little to no skill or prior knowledge, which is great because…
… The co-op system is great and a commonly missed opportunity for games like this. The game operates on a drop in/out process where the second player simply presses any button and they instantly appear in-game. All of the action takes place on the one screen, so if one person progresses faster or if one person is struggling to keep up then the game will instantly warp the one behind right next to the one in front. I don’t have anyone with me in my flat but I got a friend to connect to my PS4 via shareplay (you should check it out if you haven’t tried it) and they were able to jump right in and play with me as if they were sat next to me.
Personally, I really enjoyed playing through a few levels in co-op as I like that all the action is on one screen – I’m not a fan of games like the Lego series where they break off at strange angles and follow the direction the other player is in – those ones confuse and annoy me. The one downside comes in the form of the difficulty. You can’t change the difficulty of the game itself and having a second player doesn’t boost it or adds more enemies – it’s just the same. So a game which is fairly easy to complete on your own has instantly become a game super easy with a partner. I would probably only use the co-op mode if I was playing with a younger child who may need some help making their way through certain levels, or maybe if you have a few kids who want to play together as it’s a lot of fun in both solo and co-op modes.
I briefly mentioned the fact that you level up in a similar way to Tesla vs. Lovecraft. This is kind of true. As you destroy enemies and progress throughout the levels you will gain experience which will eventually cause your level to *ding* and go up one. Once this occurs, you will be shown up to three random ‘trait’ cards – you must choose one of these which you wish to inherit and the rest go back into the pot until you next *ding*. This is really cool as it means you get a new ability each time you level up which is a lot better than simple stat increases!
The traits you can pick from range from using your giraffe to counter-attack successful parry blocks, allowing your pet rock to save you from falling down holes, dropping your bag with your things you lose when you die so you can pick it up upon retry, and many more! It doesn’t matter which you pick though as by the time you reach the highest level, you will have obtained them all. They basically turn you from being a simple little kid with his grandfather’s cap and a pet rock and giraffe into a bad-ass (with a pet rock and a giraffe).
Another thing I touched on was the collectables. These kind-of serve a purpose, but the main reason you will be collecting all 44 stickers and X amount of cupcakes will just be for PSN Trophies. Each main ‘level’ will have five cupcakes and one sticker on it and each of the five maps has a few hidden cupcakes with NPCs offering quests in order to hand out stickers.The stickers are literally just for show and PSN Trophies, although on page three of the sticker album you will see a lot of characters from other Armor published games like Ted from Pinstripe.
The cupcakes are the most useful collectable in the game. as you build up a stockpile of them, you can trade them into a fat cat at any of the shops on the islands and they will swap them for cosmetics. Have you ever wanted to dress up a pet rock in a battery outfit? Or maybe you have always wanted a crown or even a fez? If so, then this game has you covered! Okay, so it’s nothing huge, but at least you get something other than a PSN trophy for collecting them all.
Another thing you will be tasked to do is collect rubies, these will be rewarded to you everytime you reach the end of a level on your first playthrough. A level can consist of about 4-6 stages but you can speed through them in about 3-7 minutes most of the time. Not to give away any of the story, but you will be collecting 3-5 of these on each island in order to face the boss and move onto the next location.
I briefly mentioned the game has puzzles in my opening paragraph, this is also true. There are many places where you must activate switches to make walls vanish or appear, these will either be pressure plates or switches which require you to use your giraffe’s mouth as a spanner. You will also encounter segments where you take control of a bee to operate switches and quite a few underwater segments. They wouldn’t be that bad but you can’t attack underwater so you must swim in order to avoid the jellyfish and other creatures.
The enemy design within the game is amazing. From giant trees who drop their pants in order to be vulnerable, to giant creatures made out of a full-English breakfast – you won’t find enemies as cute, yet also wacky and evil, as this! Similarly, the level design is also top notch. With some levels having multiple routes and some having a lot of hidden paths and areas where the cupcakes and stickers lie, you can tell a lot of work has gone into designing them all.
Graphically I love this game! It’s a kickstarted indie game which doesn’t rely on pixel-art as it has its own style and direction. Personally, it reminded me a lot of games like Scribblenauts, Castle Crashers and Battle Block Theater in terms of the artistic design. Everything is so bright and colourful and the quality of the game on a large screen via the PS4 Pro was so sharp and crisp – it’s easily one of my favourite 2d platformers this generation.
The music is also equally as good with its perfect tone and rhythm to match the on-screen action. The only issue would be that I wish there was more music within the game as you do start to hear the same music after a while – it’s not a big issue, just something I was aware of as I played it almost all the way through within two sittings.
The Adventure Pals is an amazing platformer which is fun for people of all ages with no difficult controls or adult subjects. The dialogue and overall story are crazy, wacky, and fun with tonnes of humour and plenty of WTF moments which will have you going “ahhhhh” at the TV. The controls are among the best of any 2d platformer I’ve played this generation and The Adventure Pals is proof that not all Kickstarter games are amateur or unpolished. With it’s added co-op mode, this game can be played both solo and with a partner offering an experience you will both remember for a long time. Recommendation – Go and buy this game now 🙂
The Adventure Pals£11.99
- Very bright and colourful
- A great diversity in enemies and environments
- The story is crazy yet very entertaining and funny
- A level up system which has been implemented well and works great
- You have a multi-tool giraffe and a living pet rock...
- There are slowdowns in later levels (even on the Pro) - patch incoming
- There is a bugged trophy at the moment - patch incoming
- No difficulty options and the game is quite easy