The Adventure Pals recently sought funding on Kickstarter in order to complete development of the game, and if our hands on preview at EGX is anything to go by, backers won’t be disappointed. Adventure Pals offers a blend of hack and slash and platforming gameplay all melded together with an art direction that oozes the colourful charm of a Saturday morning cartoon.
Mechanically the game offers a blend of traditional platforming alongside hack and slash gameplay all wrapped up with some RPG systems. While we were only able to play two levels in the demo, these served as an appropriate introduction to the game as we jumped and hacked our way through forests and fields, killing all sorts of critters along the way.
It’s immediately clear that the games controls are very responsive, and your able to jump, wall jump, glide and attack fluidly, immediately shifting from one animation to the next. It feels as this should go without saying, however it’s surprisng how many games neglect these core components and ultimately fail the player by presenting poor controls, despite solid surrounding components. Although the combat in Adventure Pals appears simple there’s a certain depth to it with regards to how you can juggle and combo enemies, similar to what’s offered in games like Castle Crashers. Each level was structured as you would expect from a relatively traditional platformer, with an ample number of jumping related hazards intermitted by enemies that would harass you, and add to the difficulty.
These levels were however pleasantly varied, as players were free to carve a path through the level in a manner that was influenced by them. This lead to plentiful secret areas being discovered, containing a variety of optional collectibles. We can only assume these serve a larger purpose in the full game though, as it wasn’t clear within our brief demo.
Playing the demo with a friend, the multi-path design was validated as we were able to split up and return to one another as the pathways diverge and then reconnect. These segments were brief, but significant enough to make myself feel thankful that I had a co-operative partner, without enforcing mechanics that shoehorn co-operative elements into the game.
The games visual and audio presentation is perhaps the highlight though in honesty, as Adventure Pals looks like it’s been pulled right out of the Adventure Time cartoon universe. Despite this, if you were to replace its characters with Fin and Jake I felt like it would have lost something of its charm, while it’s clear that the game takes significant aesthetic inspiration from the Adventure Time series, it also has a charm of its own and I think I’d miss the cute, but goofy looking Giraffe that sits in your backpack if he weren’t present.
Encapsulating this experience is a amusing narrative and world map that lets you traverse from level to level as directed by the story. Like it’s name suggests even our brief time with Adventure Pals managed to set the scene for an adventure, darting around the world map to the next level was exciting, leaving us consistently curious as to what lay around the next corner, what the next level had in store.
Ultimately Adventure Pals was a highlight for us at EGX 2016 although it’s gameplay appears relatively traditional, the incredibly tight controls and charming universe has us wanting to play more. We absolutely can’t wait for Adventure Pals to launch on PC and Consoles in 2017.