2d platformers have always had their share of weird. Remind me why I’m jumping on these flying turtles and chestnuts with feet again? Wait, I’m supposed to fling this piece of meat through all those grinders? Massive Monster’s The Adventure Pals is no different from its predecessors in this respect. As a kooky platformer that uses all that strange for comedy; I was already sold.
The story starts with our hero Wilton following his Papa through the woods to his birthday surprise (A CAKE!) which he then tells you to blow up. You toss a bomb and inside is your real gift a Giraffe which Wilton rightfully names Sparkles. The party is interrupted by your Papa’s old pal Mr. B with his overly elaborate plan to turn all the world’s people into hotdogs for reasons. He kidnaps your dad and bombs you out of consciousness. Waking up a while later Mr. B and Papa nowhere in sight you make the only logical choice to rescue your dad and stop Mr. B’s evil plot.
This game’s ridiculous knows no bounds with the strange acid trippy enemies and locals. A Cupcake obsessed cat that lays eggs, a pirate made of breakfast food, and a giant veggiesaurus are just a taste… Haha get it? Taste; of the craziness that exists in this world. The dialog is honestly hilarious if not a bit twisted and immature at times. I can remember a specific moment that gave me a good laugh after saving a particular NPC only to have her slap you across the face, remove her disguise to reveal Mr. B, and have him cackling as his army of zombie cats carry you off.
The world is divided into zones like the quiet Treevale, the desert island of Pirate cove, and the underwater Crablantis. Each has its own unique style and set of NPCs to interact with. On the world map you have a bit of free roam galloping away on Sparkles slapping poor defenseless creatures with your sword. From here you can visit little towns to buy goods or trade cupcakes for costumes, as well as jump into the levels.
Levels are broken up by wells which act as checkpoints so if you die you can start at the beginning of that section rather than the whole level. There’s your usual standard platformer fare of pits and spikes which will spell instant death. Imps, blobs, and hotdogs will guard the way through the zone but if you manage to make your way past all the mobs and traps you’ll be rewarded with a ruby. Collect enough rubies and you will unlock the zone boss. These wild, wacky, and larger than life bosses like Treefist the giant mustachioed evergreen or the aforementioned Breakfast buccaneer are a welcomed change of pace to round off each zone.
To assist you with taking down the crazed hot dog obsessed evil genius and his throng of cronies you and your pals gain levels and abilities. Sparkles’ has the ability to helicopter you to safety with his… tongue. He also doubles as a grappling hook and a monkey wrench. Mr. Rock will hit switches beyond your reach and sometimes save you from certain death. Wilton also gains some more passive abilities such as a larger backpack and coin vacuum.
I love the graphic style Adventure Pals has gone with; Almost a castle crashers/super meat boy type of look. The bright, bold colours match the eccentric silliness that this title is. The music is no different with every track being extremely happy sounding while still matching its locale (maybe that’s why everyone in this game is filled with a Valium induced kind of happy when you talk to them).
Although the game is not lengthy by any means there is plenty to keep you hooked with its fun, over the top gameplay. I think my biggest complaint with Adventure Pals is that it felt a little easy. Maybe I’m just used to playing platformers that are a little more punishing but when you can get low and just pop a potion to heal up and you can carry multiples of said potions. That being said the game is still great and well worth the budget price.