Described by its developers as “A Story of Love, Giraffes & Hotdogs,” The Adventure Pals is a nutty platformer with a perfect balance of forgiveness and challenge. In The Adventure Pals, it’s your birthday, but the celebration is ruined when Mr. B kidnaps your dad and zaps him into a hotdog. Turns out this is a habit for Mr. B, and you’ll need to team up with your giraffe-pal Sparkes and your pet rock to hunt him down to save the world!
While this game has a lot to it, platforming takes center stage, and its gravity is so light and floaty that you may be surprised at how far a jump can take you. While it takes some getting used to, this gravity makes The Adventure Pals more forgiving, and it even makes wall jumps—which feature prominently—a real cinch.
The platforming is enhanced by a variety of unique mechanics, which range from toasters that launch you upwards to grappling hooks that send you flying to switches that trigger small changes in a level’s design. These mechanics add a puzzle-solving flair that you don’t often find in platformers, and they work seamlessly with the game’s simple controls.
Like many games in its vein, The Adventure Pals encourages players to collect things, and the collectibles here are really cool: pick up coins, fill your Sticker Book with dozens of zany secret stickers, and collect hidden (and yummy-looking) cupcakes to unlock new costumes! You can always revisit old levels to find these things later, but know that you’re graded on how completely you’ve collected each level’s cupcakes and sticker(s).
As you play, you’ll battle an assortment of odd enemies with your sword, and sub-weapons like bombs can help you with more challenging foes. Bombs can be purchased at shops, which also sell potions. The health-restoring potion is one that you’ll want to keep stocked in your backpack if you want to stay alive. You can also find potions and bombs in chests that cost coins to open.
You’ll level up with more experience, and each level gained offers a chance to enhance your gaming experience. Every time you level up, you’ll choose one of three abilities, each listed on trading cards. For instance, you can make yourself magnetic to coins, enable your pet rock to fight for you, and upgrade space in your backpack.
Throughout your journey, you’ll meet plenty of kooky characters offering side missions, which you must complete to progress with the main story. While these side missions made us feel side-tracked at times, we enjoyed the silly dialogue with these characters and the absurdity of it all. For instance, you’ll have to fetch Farmer Joe’s wife, and she’s not who (or what) you’d expect her to be!
The Adventure Pals’ graphics are the perfect mix of whimsy, weirdness, and color, and we couldn’t help being reminded of Adventure Time. (Even the names strike similarities!) The graphics are great for kids, but we enjoyed them as adults, too. The soundscape is vivid and clear, and the music—which shifts from world to world—is the perfect soundtrack to your adventure.
We had a blast with The Adventure Pals, and we especially loved playing together in co-op mode. We think this game is a great one to play with your kid since it strikes the perfect balance between challenge and simplicity: it’s easy enough that any player can enjoy frustration-free fun, but it’s challenging enough that advanced players will never be bored.* Plus, there’s tons of replayability for those who love to collect. If what you’ve seen here looks good to you, we highly recommend you pick up this Nintendeal as soon as you can.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Armor Games
Developer – Massive Monster
Price – $14.99
Genre – Platformer, Adventure, Puzzle, Action
Size – 1.4GB
*Pro-tip: in co-op, P1 leads the way. Let the more advanced player lead for a more seamless experience, or give the underdog a chance to shine! (Or . . . fight over which one of you is the underdog.)