Review: The Adventure Pals (PS4)

Review: The Adventure Pals (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC, Mac

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
Title: The Adventure Pals
Format: PSN (780.3 MB)
Release Date: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Armor Games Studios
Developer: Massive Monster
Original MSRP: $14.99 (US), £11.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 7
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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Gameplay:
The Adventure Pals is the story of a young boy and his friends as they go on adventures to save his dad. The game’s tone is set right away with the quirky cartoon art style. As the adventure is starting, the boy is joined by a giraffe named Sparkles, and his pet rock.

The collectibles are cupcakes and stickers. Cupcakes can be given to a fat cat who farts out an egg that cracks open to reveal a cosmetic items for you and your friends. For a game that at first glance appears to be a kids game, there are some jokes that will go over most kids’ heads, such as a reference to Pavlov’s dogs, and a drug reference.

Make no mistake though, The Adventure Pals is not an easy game. The difficulty slowly ramps up but can be challenging towards the end. Each mission is a set of five short levels and I went from earning A+ on each mission in the first area to many Bs and a few Cs.

PS Nation Review: The Adventure Pals (PS4) PS Nation Review: The Adventure Pals (PS4)

While health potions will always be used automatically when your health runs out, other useful items become more and more scarce. Eventually I started coming across chests with random items but had to pay 100 coins to open them.

The choice to make a mission a set of five levels also adds some difficulty to the game. When I used up all my items and potions in the earlier levels, the fifth level became that much harder. Sometimes that extra bomb was the difference from strutting to the end and making it with only a sliver of health left.

The platforming is fun and there’s a constant trickle of new elements and challenges. The developer also does a good of stringing the various platform elements together in different ways. Still, when playing more than two missions in one sitting, the game feels repetitive.

Combat is straightforward and most enemy attacks are telegraphed. Surviving three or four enemies at one time is not usually overwhelming but I found it difficult to escape without taking a hit or two, especially when one of the enemies has a bow.

There’s a lot of learning by doing. There are color variations for most enemies, introducing a new twist. A variation of a common enemy may behave the same way but will explode with projectiles when it dies.

For a while, I felt like the controls and platforming could use a little tweaking, but as I continued to play I didn’t think that was a fair criticism. It’s more a combination of learning the game and understanding some of the design decisions. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t frustrating at times.

PS Nation Review: The Adventure Pals (PS4)

Killing an enemy while in the air gives you a slight boost up. This is great when a enemy is floating in the air over a spike but it can also cause you to jump into spikes in the ceiling.

There’s a hotdog enemy that poops landmines but can’t when being attacked. So early on I would continually attack him until he was dead. However, with each swing of the sword the character steps forward. Many times, by the time the enemy was killed, I had moved forward enough to trigger a landmine that had already been placed.

There are also some very light RPG mechanics. Whenever you level up, you get to choose between three cards for a permanent ability or upgrade. There’s even a overworld map where you can freely move around. To unlock the next mission, you must talk to NPCs.

Visuals:
The cartoon art style is cute and quirky. Inspiration from Adventure Time and old Saturday morning cartoons can clearly be seen and each island has its own unique theme.

Audio:
The game is full of upbeat music to keep you pushing forward.

Online/Multiplayer:
There is couch co-op. From what I can tell there are no game balance changes to account for a second player. Thus, the game is simply easier when playing co-op and the second player plays exactly like the first player.

PS Nation Review: The Adventure Pals (PS4) PS Nation Review: The Adventure Pals (PS4)

Conclusion:
The Adventure Pals nails the art style and tone. While there is a constant trickle of new platforming elements and enemies, it felt repetitive when playing more than a couple of missions at at time.

I am confused as to who the target audience is. Everything about the game seems like it was made with younger players in mind but it can be fairly challenging at times. Because couch co-op makes the game easier, this is a good game for playing with a child or someone who doesn’t play games often.

Being able to freely move around the overworld map is a neat idea, but nothing special is done with this. Even talking to the NPCs to unlock the next mission is a slight waste of time. You have to go talk to the NPC and then go the mission on the map.

The game could have simply let players hit right on the D-pad to move them to the next set of levels and shown a brief conversation before the mission begins. Nothing would have been lost. The developers really missed an opportunity here.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

Written by Matt Engelbart

Matt Engelbart

I love all things video games. When I am not gaming I am watching the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, BBQing, and reading.

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