The Adventure Pals
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Thinking back, I believe The Adventure Pals was the first digital game I purchased on Nintendo Switch. I purchased and played it for a bit but it was soon devoured by my backlog. My Wife enjoyed the game so now it’s my turn to give it another go, without being distracted by other games. Published by Armor Games Studios and developed by Massive Monster, this 2D platformer reminds me of the days of Newgrounds in terms of style and gameplay. This whack and slash game has a $14.99/£10.79 price tag and was released in 2018 for Nintendo Switch.
We are greeted on the main menu with colourful and lively characters we will meet in the game. The friendly tunes in the background are wonderful and make for a great introduction. Our Dad in the game runs us through the tutorial which is intuitive and the controls feel good. We are given our giraffe pal friend as a gift and our Dad is then transformed into a hotdog by his “pal” and our adventure begins. Dialogue is silly, full of fart joke humour on the surface and some that make references to Pavlod and Donnie Darko. There is an overworld to pick and choose levels while being able to whack animals for gold coins. Look and style referencing Newgrounds is talking about the large shiny eyes, exaggerated movements, and overall cartoon-like appearance.
Traversing the vibrant lands calls for somersault jumps, wall jumps, cliff grabs, and slowly twirling through the air with your giraffe pals tongue. All of these together make for forgiving controls and movement, as it’s saved me many times. The somersault jump is just for looks. Our player will automatically vault the edge of cliffs when you can’t quite get to the next platform and that was helpful as there is no double jump. Jumping from one wall to the other feels seamless. Our gifted giraffe lends their tongue to the skies and spins it about, allowing us to slowly descend with full control.
Combat is just as whacky as the humour and look of the game. I’ve swapped the term hack and slash for ‘whack and slash’ for that reason alone. Swinging the sword repeatedly lifts our character in the air, sometimes along with the foe we are beating mercilessly. Enemies move in a dopey manner and can fly across the screen with the right whack. Doing so enough times will allow the player to level up and pick a power-up card with options such as XP magnet, bigger bag, and giraffe grapple. These options will adjust with each level, maybe you will only have one card to pick or the choice of three. BOSS BATTLES aren’t anything special and may be littered with baddies faced prior, so it all blends together really. Enemy variety is high and very original considering for example, one is a purple ball with its brain exposed. Don’t forget the task at hand, to retrieve our Dad from the newly found life of a hot dog. These hot dog folk will be discovered throughout the game and once defeated, an elder will arise to the sky. Very weird, and I have nothing more to say on that.
Gathering gold coins in levels is fun to do, because in addition to killing typical baddies, you can take advantage of friendly bunnies and squirrels for more. Use them for potions, bombs, and stickers at the local shop. Potions and bombs can be purchased in levels as well for coins, typically next to treasure chests that have more coins just in case. Hunt for cupcakes in stages to give unto the cupcake king in exchange for different hats. Five in total per area, and fun to hunt because it calls for a bit more exploration than usual.
Gameplay is repetitive but considering the quality of 2D platformers that are on Switch, The Adventure Pals is above most of the competition. This should be the new standard and although it has its flaws, every bit of charm and quality does not go unnoticed. There are layers of background that can be appreciated in addition to the assortment of differing platforming areas present. Leaves blowing in the wind are a nice touch to the luscious green forest filled stages. The overworld showcases a miniature preview of the areas to be explored. Characters both friends and foes have personality and humour that can be appreciated. Take some time with this one, as the whack and slash may feel monotonous but change your style and use some bombs. Switch to a new hat, take the time to read the dialogue, enjoy the environment. The Adventure Pals is a good game, and a staple to the 2D indie genre and I can easily recommend it.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: PC, PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo
Release Date: 12/04/2018
No. of Players: 1-2
Category: Adventure, Platformer
Developer: Massive Monster
Publisher: Armor Games
Download link: eShop