The Fancy Pants Adventures PlayStation Network Game Review

This enjoyable platform game has been on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network since late April, but PlayStation 3 players might be getting their first glance  after the online service outage.

The Hype

In The Fancy Pants Adventures on PlayStation 3 you play as Fancy Pants Man, a two-dimensional stick figure with spiky hair, wearing only a pair of zany triangular-shaped pants. The game takes place in the weird and wonderful world of Squiggleville, and the object is to guide Fancy Pants Man through a series of crazy lands while avoiding the numerous obstacles standing in your way.

These include everything from spiders to snails and even mice armed with machine guns. In most instances you can take down an enemy by jumping on their heads; when you leap on a snail it quickly retracts into its shell, which can then be kicked to stun other enemies. With a little bit of practice you can kick a shell throughout the entire level to knock out every creature along the way.

Other objectives include collecting hidden stars and making it through the world as fast as you can by performing a series of fluid movements such as running, sliding, jumping and bouncing off walls to reach up to ledges and floating platforms. The quicker you master this technique, the easier it is to dash through the level and grab yourself a coveted time bonus.

Created by Brad Borne, the man behind the hit flash game phenomena, The Fancy Pants Adventures takes all the excitement from the original two games and delivers an all-new adventure designed exclusively for console!

The Reality

The smooth, parkour style moves entertain and challenge on a very high level as Over The Top Games in partner with Borne Games and EA 2D for The Fancy Pants Adventures now available on PlayStation Network. This version is not necessarily the third installment in this game series (first released in March 2006 then the second in January 2008). The Fancy Pants Adventures contains elements from the previous installments with new storyline and gameplay.

This side-scrolling platformer begins with proud Squiggleville resident, Fancy Pants Man, sleeping in his cozy hand drawn house. Players can direct this playable and customizable character throughout the house to change his wardrobe, select levels, play bonus games, or continue saved adventures. The game features 141 character wardrobe items and weapons.

After venturing into the open with a wide camera shot for orientation, players can find appealing environments with great spacing, contrast, color, and varying line weight for sharp visuals that ease navigation and provide even more appeal. This game has no dialogue audio, so dialogue text bubbles serve the story well as players concentrate on the strong visuals and character actions.

The beginning tutorial-type levels orient players then the story kicks off with a conflict – Fancy Pants Man’s sister Cutie Pants gets kidnapped by pirates, the main antagonists along with other figures and basic creatures like spiders. Standard platform gaming elements like boss fights still apply

Enemies also shoot guns, but players also can gain their own weapons and other special attacks. The ingenious layouts let players can take the cautious approach or go full speed, but they encounter the same learning curve for movements and controls. Control movement and responses are excellent, so layers must learn the controls and determine their speed. The biggest learning curves occur on wall jumps and back flips. The catchy musical score adds a spring in every step.

Squiggleville contains many beneficial “squiggle” objects that players can obtain for health recovery and extra lives (for every 100). Movements occur mainly on foot, but springs, underwater swims, and mid-air adjustments add nice variety. For example, horizontal movement options while falling straight down put players beyond gravity’s mercy. As the screen scrolls through the big drops and jumps, players really get a fast moving, almost weightless sensation thanks to the smooth animation and navigation. The tight maneuvering make perfect drops almost impossible, so that ultimate challenge is always present. A special large joystick peripheral would be perfect for this game.

The biggest advantage of horizontal movements after the main action (usually jumps) is that players can easily adjust if they know they will miss the mark. Jumps are the biggest enemy beater and they require precise placement on the target’s head. Jump on a friend’s head for a teammate jump boosts. Players can also kick off underwater surfaces. All these movements would benefit from a deeper sound effect cache including footsteps when running and sweeping slides.

No trophies, but immense extra content, bonus rooms, and special challenge levels boost the replay value. The most notable addition from previous installments is the local and online multiplayer modes (up to four players). Races and classic King of the Hill tournaments are very entertaining. The local multiplayer levels lose other players if one gets ahead, but players can hit x to rejoin at any time.

Review: The Fancy Pants Adventures

Where to Buy: PlayStation Network/Xbox Live Arcade

Price: $9.99 (currently 1/2 off special for PlayStation Plus members)/800 Microsoft Points

What I Like: “Pick up and play” ease, high entertainment, smooth movements, multiplayer and online modes, musical score, complex challenges, simple moves

What Needs Improvement: improved sound effects, expanded properties (how about “parachute” pants?), more characters/power-ups, and a slightly bigger zone for less precise landing requirements

Source: personal copy

Categories: Gaming, Reviews

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