We seem to be settling into a new era of platform games, the cutesy nature of the old school mascots is returning and bringing with it some really interesting new art styles and ideas. While it is incredibly hard to innovate in this genre it doesn't change the fact that these games are still a lot of fun and tend to be driven more by their stories or quirks than anything else. Adventure Pals goes for a quirky sense of humour combined with a gorgeous cartoon visual style that mesh together to give an entertaining and enjoyable game.
You play a boy just trying to get to his birthday party, naturally it all goes horribly awry when a villain swoops down, steals your grandpa and threatens to turn him and everyone else into hot dogs. The story is a little cliche but then how else can you tell them these days. Thankfully you have a pet giraffe in your backpack to help you traverse the levels and fight the baddies throughout the game. Of course this is a completely off the wall story as are most of the characters in the game and the logic that the world runs on. As well as your giraffe you have a pet rock to help you overcome obstacles and activate switches as you progress.
In terms of the specific gameplay bits and bobs, your aim is to make it through the levels and collect things. Pretty standard stuff. Of course you get to collect Cupcakes for a cat and pay off ransoms with rubies, which is significantly less standard. Also the cupcakes look really happy all the time, which might be because they know exchanging gets you some cool new cosmetics to play with. For example, the natural progression of your cap could be a sun visor, or a fish bowl. Have we mentioned that you can dress up your pet rock too?
Anyway, as well as jumping, you can wall jump, ledge climb and of course, glide using the giraffes tongue as a helicopter to make it over longer gaps. You can also swing your sword around like a pro, in fact the combat is quite a bit of fun, you can of course just button mash but you also come up against enemies you will have to dodge and exploding enemies to hit into their friends. As you beat these enemies they will drop experience orbs, collecting these of course leads to the world's most satisfying thing, the level up. Every time you level up you are presented with a few different choices as to what you want to add to your arsenal, on the first level up for example you can take an upgrade that allows your giraffe to pull your to enemies once you have hit a combo of five, this makes groups of enemies a blast to take out because you never have to move.
Adventure Pals is at its best when its humour is on full display, from Pavlov's Pack to the Cupcake Cat and beyond there are plenty of characters to meet and weird conversations to be had. The gameplay isn't all that challenging but is a huge amount of fun nevertheless due to the personality this game has, when combined with the local co-op you have a fantastic little platformer that can stand proudly amongst some of the better platformers this generation.