by Joshua Russo
Developer: Massive Monster
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (Reviewed), Steam, Nintendo Switch
Released: April 3, 2018
A copy of The Adventure Pals was provided by the developers for the purpose of this review.
There are so many reasons to fall in love with The Adventure Pals. Massive Monster’s RPG platformer has a ridiculous story filled with memorable characters in a colorful and pleasant environment. At first glance The Adventure Pals looks like one of the wacky flash games from an ancient internet era, possibly because it’s a successor to the flash game Super Adventure Pals.
Right away the game hits the ground running with the protagonist receiving a pet giraffe for his birthday from his father, only to have his father be immediately kidnapped by the game’s villain, Mr. B.. After finding out that Mr. B. is kidnapping adults and turning them all into hot dogs our hero springs into action to save his father and your journey begins. By the way, did I mention you can glide with the giraffe because he uses his tongue as a propeller??
The Adventure Pals levels are all fairly routine. Each level is broken up into five areas, with each area having a collectible cupcake to try to find. One pack of stickers is also hidden in one of the five areas of the level, bringing the total to six collectibles per level. This formula is consistent throughout the entire game and the collectibles are usually incredibly easy to find. For the majority of the game, I was able to find all of the items during my first time in the level.
Within the level are, of course, many enemies to try to stop you. Killing enemies gains the player experience, which can be cashed in upon leveling up. Every level up gives the player a choice between three perks, some are combat related, have passive effects or help in finding collectibles. A normal playthrough had me reaching the level cap and unlocking all of the game’s perks before reaching the final mission. At the end of every level, there is a ruby waiting to be grabbed. This stereotypical reward for finishing a level is actually poked fun at a few times during the many breakings of the fourth wall that take place within The Adventure Pals’ story.
During my time with The Adventure Pals, my favorite moments were meeting the utterly wild and crazy characters packed in each world. They’ll send you on quests that unlock new levels for you and depending on the quest you may have to make some choices that will impact the way these character’s stories end. If anything, I wish we could have seen more of these characters or bigger layouts of the towns and spaces that house these hilarious nutjobs.
The game’s combat starts out easy enough and ramps up as it goes along. Unlocking the combat upgrades help quite a bit during the course of the game, so it never gets too difficult, but never so easy that it’s boring either. The boss battles are definitely an area where The Adventure Pals shines. The game’s bosses are, much like the rest of the game, pretty funny and entertaining. One of my favorite bosses is a brunch themed pirate boss that attacks with spurts of ketchup and mustard.
The Adventure Pals does a great job blending the platformer and RPG genres, but could use just a little more polish in a few areas. During a few levels I had the game slow down on me pretty significantly. I would have also appreciated a more complex level design, with incentives to backtrack, such as some collectibles only being available after completing specific quests or unlocking particular upgrades.
The Adventure Pals is definitely a fun time either by yourself or with a friend. The game can be completed in co-op mode or if you want to just take out some enemies together there are several arenas to jump in and do battle. Massive Monster should be proud of what they have put together with The Adventure Pals. Its charming atmosphere, characters and humor certainly leave me hoping to see more of it all in the future.