Fun and cartoon styled platformers of such entertainment and polish are often hard to come by and in recent years the main title that comes to mind that achieved this was Castle Crashers on Xbox Live Arcade. The Adventure Pals is a good contender for this though, so should you buy it?
After your dad is kidnapped by a madman who supposedly has turned him into a hotdog. Your birthday is ruined and it is your job to save the day by completing various platforming levels and completing quests on your fun adventure.
As the game title suggests you have pals to help you out such as Sparkles the Giraffe who turns into a propeller and slows your descent to the ground by pressing A again while in mid air. You also have a pet rock who joins you part way earlier on into the story. It’s all rather comical as you would expect from such a game, but thoroughly enjoyable and very highly polished, which may seem somewhat surprising.
Platforming mechanics mostly consist of jumping ledges and wall to wall, whilst avoiding spike pits and enemies, with new obstacles and enemy challenges thrown at you level by level. There’s a generous learning curve all in all and it doesn’t feel too punishing or hardcore to fans of the platformer genre. The fact that when you jump close to a ledge, the game recognises you need to climb up to get to that ledge indicates that the developers really didn’t want you throwing controllers across the room. For that, I applaud them hugely.
Sprinkled throughout each level are also various enemies, with new enemy types introduced progressively, ranging from archers to melee sword-wielding monsters. Some levels will additionally test you with a boss fight to sharpen your blade, who has a health meter presented on screen in what seems like a fairly straight forward battle.
The Adventures Pals also features RPG elements such as a levelling system in turn allowing you to learn new special abilities and unlock some pretty spectacular weapons. Completing quests for the random characters you encounter on your journey is also a good way to get cool items.
If you enjoy collectibles there are cupcakes to find on every level and secret stickers to fill your scrap book. So every player really is catered to in this title apart from the more competitive hardcore players maybe.
The general feel for the game comes across as a passionate project through its mix of lovingly handcrafted level designs and what’s more, it also has local co-op to team up with friends and family on your couch. Essentially this is something that has increasingly become more frequent again thankfully, as local co-op is a fantastic way to play with the family while in the living room.
To summarise, The Adventure Pals is a light-hearted adventure filled with comical and enjoyable moments for all. Not only is it highly polished, but it also has an engaging story you’ll want to go back to and play all over again, maybe with a friend this time. I can at last say Castle Crashers has been replaced in my heart.