It’s not often that a teaser trailer has me legitimately hyped for any game. Seeing the trailer for The Adventure Pals, however, immediately had me stoked! A boy riding a giraffe? That giraffe using his tongue to helicopter the boy to safety? Hotdog people? A freakin’ rock as a sidekick? This type of silliness isn’t for everyone, but BY GOD, it’s right up my alley. When we here at Nindie Nexus received a code, I didn’t believe that gameplay could possibly match the hilarity promised.
I’m incredibly happy to be wrong.
The premise of this game may draw a little inspiration from the likes of Adventure Time or maybe even Rick and Morty, but fear not: The Adventure Pals is still very much its own thing. And dear god, it’s hilarious. You’ve barely started your adventure when you run in to pack of singing dogs, appropriately named “Pavlov’s Pack”, after watching “Mr.B” steal your father with a helicopter crane. Oh, did I mention that he’d just given you a pet giraffe? Her name is Sparkles. I love her.
That’s only the beginning of something perfectly silly and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny. The Adventure Pals is full of memorable characters, like a postman that eats mail and doesn’t know the difference between “male” and “mail”, a weight-sensitive whale, a rock and his family, and so much more. It’s easily among the best cast of characters that I can remember in any video game.
The Adventure Pals‘ gameplay mainly revolves around platforming levels, where you’ll be fighting enemies with your sword, jumping from platform to platform, solving small puzzles, and much more. You actually gain experience from defeating enemies and level up the main character, the boy who, um, never gets a name? With each level, you’ll also gain new abilities. Want your newfound pet giraffe to extend her long neck to pull you towards enemies during combos? Yeah, that’s something you can do. It’s nearly perfectly paced, as the first half dozen levels are appropriately super easy and they gradually become something that will challenge your platforming and fighting capabilities. Boss fights are fun, too, and the bosses themselves are fun to watch and figure out.
You’ll also be on the lookout for a few collectibles in each level. You’ll receive a score based on how fast you complete each level, how many enemies you vanquish, how many times you die, and whether or not you find those hidden cupcakes. There are also harder-to-find stamp books that are fun to find and collect. This certainly encourages replaying each level when you don’t find them. When you’ve accumulated 5 cupcakes, you can turn them in for apparel unlocks. It’s really fun and an adorable way to make exploration and replay fun.
The graphics on display are freakin’ great. The hand-drawn, pseudo-Adventure Time look is completely appropriate and exactly what you’d expect for a game like this. The characters come to life with great detail and silly looks, but also with lively animation that brings the world to life. Whether it’s a giraffe, hotdog person, boss trees, whales, cats, dogs, they all seem to have been created in the same image and it seemlessly connects the characters in to one big, ridiculously-silly universe that’s fun to watch. I was taking so many screenshots of this game during my play sessions that I would forget to play some times. There’s just so much to like here that it was hard not to get distracted.
The music is fun and endearing, but it doesn’t steal the show. It’s reminscent of older cartoons and fits The Adventure Pals really well. The sound effects, too, are also well done and further add to the overall package here. It’s a well-considered aspect of The Adventure Pals and there’s very little for me to say about it beyond that.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Adventure Pals has co-op gameplay. Games as fun as these are even better when shared with a friend and The Adventure Pals is perfectly suited to the co-op experience. I didn’t get a chance to experience it, but it’s there and another reason to consider this game.
If I’ve seemed overly positive about The Adventure Pals, it’s because I haven’t enjoyed myself this much with a game in a long time. It’s not often that a game comes along and is just plain fun in nearly every regard. Sure, the levels begin to feel a little same-y after the first 60-70 or so. However, the zany story and great characters encourage you to keep playing. I’m ten hours in and I’m nearing the end, but I haven’t quite beaten it yet. That’s a great deal of fun for the price and it makes The Adventure Pals an easy recommendation. If you like platforming or fun, humorous games that don’t take themselves seriously, just buy the game.
The only issue I could find is the occasional significant slowdown in the arenas. It only happened when there were a significant number of enemies on the screen, so it can be ignored until a likely patch.
In 30-ish years of playing video games, only a few have elicited this much joy from this cold, cynical heart. The Adventure Pals now sits firmly on top of my favorite Nindie games list. Well done, Armor Games Studios! Can’t wait to see what’s in store next!
Nindie Nexus’ co-Founder, Rob is a law enforcement officer during the day, Nindie nerd by night. He also really enjoys Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, weight lifting, and most importantly, his family.