When it comes to cartoons, kids that grew up in the 80s and 90s seem to think the past decade has only yielded trash. If that’s how you feel, it’s entirely possible you have not seen the likes of Gravity Falls, The Amazing World of Gumball, Adventure Time, Steven Universe, and other things that have been created by those that grew up loving the culture during the same time period. Of course, that love goes both ways, as the same people are also enjoying those new cartoons and making games inspired by them.
My wife hasn’t seen much of the aforementioned cartoons, if at all. In fact, I believe she’s only seen an episode or two of Adventure Time, and that was years ago when we were dating. However, she picked up on the influences in The Adventure Pals immediately. The aesthetic of the game, the humor, and the characters themselves are certainly reminiscent. Is that a bad thing? By no means, as it creates an experience that feels like an interactive cartoon. And the humor is very much like cartoons these days – able to be enjoyed by kids and adults alike.
The game starts off with your dad being kidnapped by a Mr. B (he rides on a bee) who is turning older folks into hotdogs. Not hotdogs that you’ll eat, mind you – sentient, human-sized frankfurters. The price for their return? A few rubies. To obtain these rubies you’ll be completing levels within a world map that you traverse on your giraffe that you’re gifted by your dad on your birthday. To unlock certain levels, you’ll need to be given tasks from the local townsfolk, all with their own issues. This adds a bit of levity to the experiences, as the dialogue does not shy away from being overtly silly. The writing uses a fair amount of references while also being original.
First and foremost, this is a platformer. While you’ll be talking with a variety of NPCs and getting quests from them like in an RPG, but the majority of the game involves jumping off walls, killing enemies with your sword, and utilizing your giraffe and pet rock to explore the environments utilizing their different abilities. On top of that, in your quests you’ll be earning experience that will allow you to choose new abilities to help with your exploration. Some of these help with your combat abilities, others allow you to avoid death in certain circumstances, while others help with the collection of things like coins and experience.
The game starts off at a difficulty level that may seem a bit too easy, but it ramps up a bit as the game progresses. At the end of collecting the land’s five rubies you’ll be faced with a boss; these are expectedly the hardest part of the game if you let them be. While they are the most difficult, that doesn’t mean they are the best or most fun parts. The first boss you encounter has several moves that he repeats in the same routine, and despite knowing what was coming, I continually took damage despite not seeing any connection between the obstacles and myself. Luckily, the game provides you with items like bombs, health potions, and invulnerability potions. These are easily acquired which makes the boss battles easy should you choose to use them. Knowing exactly when to hit the boss, simply putting on the invincibility and waiting for the vulnerable timeframe takes the boss battles from somewhat difficult to a bit of a joke.
In addition to simply completing the levels you’ll have the opportunity to collect things like cupcakes and stickers within the levels. The cupcakes allow for you to buy new costumes which don’t have any effect other than changing your appearance, but they are amusing and a nice reward for the collection process. On top of the normal experience, you can jump into this adventure with your own pals. That’s right, the game has co-op for those that wish to battle old people turned wieners with friends in the hopes of saving your father and mother from the same fate.
Most of the game’s mechanics work well and the levels are fun to play through; the main complaint here is that they seem a bit simple. The collection of cupcakes and stickers don’t take much effort in comparison to things like Super Meat Boy or Celeste. Indeed, this means it’s more accessible for those that dislike games that are overly difficult, but it leaves me wanting a bit more, especially with level scores being A+ without any trouble. Additionally, some of the platforming can be a bit dodgy when it comes to smaller platforms because unlike Mega Man, your jump is a bit unpredictable. Luckily your giraffe allows you to slow your fall and more accurately land your jumps.
In a world of video game inspired cartoons and cartoon inspired video games, it’s no wonder that The Adventure Pals exists. Mixing the love for things like Adventure Time, older platformers, and humor with a modern touch makes for an enjoyable experience. While not a perfect game, it does a lot right and is great for some parent/child bonding.
8 out of 10
- Fun for Adults and Children
- Cartoon Aesthetic
- Earned Abilities
- Too Easy at Times
- Somewhat Unpolished
The Adventure Pals was developed by Massive Monster and published by Armor Games Studios. It launched on PC, PS4, X1, and NS on April 3rd, 2018. The game was provided to us on PS4. If you’d like to see more of The Adventure Pals, check out the official site.
Here at GBG we use a rating method that you are more than likely familiar with – a scale of 1 to 10. For clarification, we intend on using the entire scale: 1-4 is something you should probably avoid paying for; 5-7 is something that is worth playing, but probably not at full price; 8-10 is a great title that you can feel confident about buying. If you have any questions or comments about how we rate a game, please let us know.