games / Reviews

The Fancy Pants Adventures (XBLA, PSN) Review

May 4, 2011 | Posted by Trace Aber


Game: The Fancy Pants Adventure
Genre: Platformer
Players: 1-4
Developer: Over the Top Games
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Rated E for Everyone

Brad Borne released two flash games: Fancy Pants Adventures World 1 and World 2, released in 2006 and 2009, respectively. They became big hits on websites like Newgrounds, so big in fact that Electronic Arts approached Borne to update the game for a console release. It’s not just a rehash of the online games, however, as they’ve updated and upgraded many aspects of the original titles.

Pirates have come to town and kidnapped Fancy Pants’ sister, Cutie Pants, from their hometown of Squigglesville and it’s up to you to go and rescue her. In your travels you’ll encounter spiders, pirates, ninjas and even a giant penguin in a variety of settings including Squigglesville itself, a beach and a pirate ship! While one could easily rush through every level start to finish, they’ll be cheating themselves out of the game’s true depth, which involves searching throughout the world for a variety of collectibles, hidden rooms and challenges.

Traversing each of the game’s levels consists of well-timed jumps and a decent understanding of its physics engine. Generally the controls are extremely smooth, but occasionally Fancy Pants Man just won’t do what you want him to. Fortunately, it’s more of a minor annoyance as opposed to a flat out problem. Running through loops, wall-jumping, and a couple of parkour-inspired moments flesh out the gameplay, along with traditional platforming elements like stomping on enemy’s heads. Later on in the game you’ll unlock the use of weapons, which start out as fun but end up slowing down gameplay more than anything.

Fans of collectibles are really going to get a kick out of this game, as each level has a set of squiggles, usually ranging in the 200-400 range. There’s also hidden rooms that house more squiggles and include some of the more difficult sections of the game. Each level also has a number of stars that must be found, and some of them are only obtainable through multiplayer mode. In addition, you can find speed and trick challenges and timed-collectable mini-games that usually have you running through a set course for squiggles. Collecting everything in a level unlocks some of the 141 hidden costumes and weapons in the game. They even threw in HD versions of the original flash games for those who collect enough squiggles!

This game is extremely fun as a solo experience, but when played with friends it becomes a whole lot better. Up to three other players can join you either locally or online with players competing for the most squiggles, with the winner getting either a hidden costume or an extra life. There’s also a racing mode and a deceptively addicting king of the hill mode.

The artwork of the game is reminiscent of a Flash game and that is in no way an insult. The levels are extremely colorful and the end result is a unique and beautiful looking game. If you take the time to explore each level thoroughly you’ll also find some hidden drawings in the background. I’m also a huge fan of the game’s soundtrack as it features a variety of genres and remixes from the original games.

Pros
-Tons of collectibles
-Great multiplayer experience
-Unique style

Cons
-Controls can be inconsistent
-Weapons feel tacked on

The 411
The Fancy Pants Adventures is both highly addicting and great fun. Taking inspiration from classic platformers like Mario and Sonic, old-school and new-school fans will appreciate every little detail thrown in. There’s plenty of value in the game if you have some buddies to play with and intend on unlocking everything, but if you’re planning on just completing the game start to finish you’ll likely be disappointed by its length.

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Trace Aber

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