Too Long; Didn't Play: The Adventure Pals

Time Palling Around: Around an hour

Sponsored By: My wife (Thanks, dear!)

Short Review

Action! Adventure! Trees in underpants! A giraffe in a backpack with a helicopter for a tongue! WHEEEEE!

Long Review

I’ve heard it said, or read it written, or imbibed via some form of media, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that’s true, then somebody is flattering the bejebus out of The Behemoth, because subtlety, thy name sure as heck isn’t Adventure Pals!

The name of the company that makes Adventure Pals is Massive Monster, which is literally the Webster’s definition of "behemoth." The game itself is a madcap action platformer with more than a few similarities to Battleblock Theatre. Even the trailers ape The Behemoth’s signature fast-talking narrator with a frenetic sense of humor.

All of this would be a strike against the game, because anyone leaning into “borrowing” another developer’s style so brazenly is usually making a bad game. But no! Adventure Pals is also very, very good!

You play a young lad who receives a magical giraffe for his birthday. Before he can start enjoying his cake, though, an evil madman shows up in a robot bumblebee and steals the lad's grandfather. The reasons why he wants your grandfather are unclear at first, but it has something to do with a race of sentient hot dogs.

With that as a setup, the writing only gets goofier. Thankfully, it’s good goofy, like Mr. Walker and Mr. Wheeler, not bad goofy like The Goofy Movie.

I invoked Battleblock Theatre earlier, and I want to elaborate, because while there are some clear inspirational lines to be drawn, it’s not anything like a carbon copy. Yes, there’s a lot of platforming and wall jumping, but there’s also direct combat and a hover ability granted by the tongue of the birthday giraffe who lives in your backpack. In a way, it’s more of a combination of Rayman Origins and Battleblock Theatre, which only serves as more of a selling point, if we’re being honest with ourselves.

The structure of the game is a blend of RPG and action platformer, but that doesn’t tell you much these days, since everything is described as “an RPG mixed with ______.”

You have an overworld map to walk around in, and there are a number of locations to explore from quest hub levels. Whether you want to explore these locations depends on whether you’ve got a quest that involves going into one of them. It’s a nifty-go-lifty approach that I haven’t seen in a lot of games outside of the Monster Hunter series, and I wholeheartedly endorse it. The more things that can be like Monster Hunter, the better, as far as I’m concerned.

The combat is hack-and-slash beat-'em-up. There isn’t much complexity to it, being a one-button affair, but it does let you chain a lot of attacks together in a Castle Crashers sort of way. Also, there are exploding enemies that you can kick into other exploding enemies to create giant, system-slowing chain reactions of exploding enemies. I don’t know how often you’ve kicked exploding enemies into other exploding enemies to create giant, system-slowing chain reactions of exploding enemies, but I hope my gratuitous repetition has conveyed exactly how much fun it is.

There’s also an enemy that farts when you kill it. If that isn’t a selling point, try playing couch co-op with a nine-year-old.

Will I Quest On?

If you don’t know the answer to that question, I will repeat myself:

There is a freakin’ enemy that farts and flies around the screen like a balloon when you kill it.

Of course I’m going to keep playing! It’s like a kid-friendly Dark Messiah of Might and Magic. And it’s on the Switch, which means you can take it with you. Which you should, because farting enemies are even funnier when you know you’re not supposed to laugh because it will disturb other people on the subway.

It may borrow from every game from The Behemoth, but does it copy anything from From?

No. Adventure Pals is not an easy game, but it is a kid-friendly game, and as such the sort of grueling punishment we’ve all come to know and love is nowhere to be found. Maybe in later levels, when the hidden objects become harder to find and the walking hotdogs start shooting mustard at you, I’ll change my tune, but for now the game is just sheer, playful joy.


This looks like a hoot!

Or is it a toot?

wordsmythe wrote:

This looks like a hoot!

Or is it a toot?

Both. And it’s glorious.

The fact that more people aren’t talking about it is a crime against fun.