Adventure Pals tells the story of Wilton, a young man who whilst celebrating his birthday is suddenly thrown into an adventure that sees him off to save the world. After being gifted a pet giraffe and new best friend named Sparkles, Wilton’s dad is suddenly kidnapped by the dastardly Mr. B, who is turning old folks into Hot Dog people (for reasons!). With Sparkles in his backpack, and tiny rock like friend Mr. Rock floating at his side, Wilton sets out on a journey to save his father, collecting countless rubies, and trade seemingly living cupcakes in for hats, all in the name of friendship!
In Adventure Pals, you get to fight a variety of enemies, including hot dog people, bandits and more. Different backdrops like the forest as well as Crablantis (an underwater world) provide a change of scenery as well as the addition of new enemy types. Each area typically ends with a boss fight, as adventure games are known to do. Combat with these enemies is solid, but kind of uninspired. There are no options to block or roll (there is a dodge, but more on that later), so it’s basically a hack and slash at this point. Not much skill or finesse is needed, which is fine, but it does make the combat get boring from time to time. There is a backpack and a variety of items available; potions (like health and invincibility), bombs (different styles here too), and even a compass to help you track down collectables. These keep things fresh, and was a feature I was not expecting considering the gameplay style.
Another gameplay feature I was not expecting was a leveling/experience system. This is by far one of the standouts, and truly kept things from growing stale as it allowed you to earn new perks. Upon each rank (21 max), you are allowed to pick from one of three available perks. Some add new options to your combat, like the ability to counter after dodging (in which your giraffe companion yanks onto the enemy) or seeing Mr. Rock take care of business himself with some damaging combos. Others make your items stay stocked, with options to have Mr. Rock occasionally bring you items or to make enemies drop items from time to time. These perks are a worthy addition, and the leveling system (as it does in many games) keeps you interested, making you take advantage of fights even when you may be able to avoid them.
Adventure Pals is a great pickup, specifically so on the Switch. It offers at least ten hours of gameplay, and for completionists, a bit more for those who miss some collectables along the way. Great visuals, charming characters, and hilarious dialogue make for a worthwhile narrative, which is supplemented by its tight gameplay. Though combat can sometimes grow tiresome, its introduction of both an inventory and a leveling system keeps things fresh and fun, giving you goals to work towards as well as tools to support your travels. Massive Monster has put together a great overall package, and all its goodness can be played with in co-op too. If you have some real life friends to play with, or want to join some digital ones, grab your controllers and get ready for ADVENTURE!
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 8/10
-Frame Rate Slow Downs