Review: The Adventure Pals

A worthy adventure.

By Joshua A. Johnston. Posted 04/12/2018 12:30 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
Editor's Choice
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
Wacky premise; surprisingly deep gameplay; drop-in/drop out two-player co-op
Poison Mushroom for...
Tiny dialogue font; music could use more variation; humor not quite as kid-friendly as it might seem

If you’re a sucker for a good adventure game— and this reviewer is— you might be forgiven for glossing over a title like this one. At first glance, The Adventure Pals looks like the kind of platformer your grade-school nephew might be playing while sitting in the doctor’s office or at the obligatory summer family reunion. However, not only is it not entirely for kids (more on this later), this is actually a rollicking adventure in its own right.

The Adventure Pals, a multiplatform title that currently retails for $14.99 on the eShop in the U.S., is a genre mashup: part adventure, part platformer, part action game, with some light RPG elements and a dash of puzzle-solving for good measure. The game puts the player in the role of a young boy who has just celebrated his birthday when an evil villain kidnaps his father; except the story is much wilder than that. The young boy also has received a pet giraffe for his birthday, and the person who abducted his father is a diabolical scientist bent on transforming old people into hot dogs from his moon base. Oh, and there’s a sentient pet rock involved somewhere.

To save your father, players will venture to all manner of lands, collecting valuable objects and solving quests. The quest element is one RPG convention in the game, as is an XP-style level-up system that lets players choose from different character upgrades. This, combined with an inventory that can be expanded, helps give the game a sense of depth beyond the simple platformer. That doesn’t mean the game scrimps on the platforming elements. The controls are brilliantly designed and implemented, and the character moves effortlessly through levels thanks to silk-smooth jumping, including wall-jumping and the ability to float downward by way of— wait for it— your giraffe’s tongue. Combat is fun, especially as the game progresses and new attacks and counterattacks are unlocked; and you’ll need them, too. The game steadily ramps up in difficulty as the adventure progresses. Just when you think you’ve mastered a certain ability, the game throws a new, more devious curve ball at you, whether it’s a new enemy or a new obstacle/explosive/cutting device to overcome.

Production-wise, it’s hard not to appreciate how the game sweats the small stuff. Everything in the game has a hand-drawn look, from the NPCs to the different vistas. The main character’s face, prominent next to his stats, shows damage as the health bar declines. And the level design is enough of a quality that it invites some replay value. The only nit-pick here is that the music, while serviceable, is not quite as varied and epic as the rest of the game is.

The Adventure Pals comes with drop-in/drop out co-op, and it improves the game for the better. The game is perfectly fine solo, but it’s a really fun adventure with a friend. The second player basically inherits the same abilities as the main player, so a second player can drop in or out without suffering an ability deficit, and the second player is “dragged” to the first when they get too far apart, which helps deal with potential aggravations when you and your partner get separated. Also, co-op is not only a nice addition, but can also ease some other frustrations. Early on in the game, death sends players back to the start of a given level stage, but co-op keeps that from happening so long as at least one player is alive. This makes the game a little easier without feeling like it’s a cop-out.

The Adventure Pals is rated E10 for crude humor and fantasy violence, and this reviewer saw some references, including early on, that he probably would rather not have to explain to a grade-school age kid. It should be noted that the game is not entirely aimed at kids, despite the fact that the developer touts kid/family game accolades on its website. Mercifully, most of the references may go over a kid’s head and there aren’t too many of them, but it’s something to be aware of. That’s assuming, of course, that kids can read them. The dialogue boxes are inexplicably tiny, both on TV and in tablet mode. More often than not, I had to squint toward my tablet or get off my couch to go up to my TV to be able to make out the little words scrawled in boxes that were more than large enough for a font twice that size. One can hope that this problem will be fixed in a future patch.

Those shortcomings aside, The Adventure Pals is a superb action RPG platformer. With a fun story and an expansive world to explore, this adventure really augments the Switch lineup, and at a modest price. Definitely worth a look.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Log In 0 points Log in or register to grow your Ninja Score while interacting with our site.
Nintendojo's RSS Feeds

All Updates Podcast
News Comments
Like and follow usFacebookTwitter Friend Code Exchange + Game with Us Join the Team!