The Fancy Pants Adventures Review

With the heyday of platform games behind us (at least for now), itís good to know that you can turn to XBLA for a fun platformer now again even though the big publishers are apparently hesitant to invest in marquee titles in the genre these days. The Fancy Pants Adventures is one of those games that manage to capture the pure spirit of fun at the core of old school platform games, and remind us of how much we miss them.

If the name didnít clue you in on the fact that the game is rather lighthearted and neglects to take itself seriously, one look at the gameís graphics will make it obvious. Your character is a stick figure, albeit one with spiky hair and the titular fancy pants, and his world has a hand-drawn, almost childlike look to it. This is a simple-looking game thatís simply about the fun of platform gaming.

While playing The Fancy Pants Adventures, I couldnít help but think of the original Sonic games on the Genesis. There are plenty of loops, ramps, and spring pads everywhere and the game doesnít hesitate to take its levels vertical. But itís more than the style of the levels that harkens back to the spiky blue guyís heyday; itís also the speed. Dash down a ramp into a loop and chain together another move or two and youíll be flying through the levels at Sonic speeds. Even all of those rings are there for the grabbing, although in this game theyíre little hand-drawn squiggly lines.

Just as in all classic platform games your progress through the world is impeded by various enemies that wander back and forth on the platforms, and in true platform style to defeat them you must jump on them. Itís a two-step process in The Fancy Pants Adventures, though, as they just curl up for a bit when jumped on and to truly get rid of them youíll have to follow the head-jump with a string kick to send them flying. Well, at least for the first half of the game or so. After that youíre given a weapon to bonk enemies with that can also be charged up to deal with stronger foes. The weapon takes a lot of fun out of the game because it slows down the pure fun of the high-speed platforming, especially with the added delay of waiting for it to get charged up.

In addition to the main area, each level also includes a number of special challenges and side mini level time trials. The time trials are particularly fun as the goal is to push your high-speed platforming skills to their limit. Thereís also the added incentive of playing them again to beat your best time or that of your friends.

The game also supports co-op play, but this is one of those cases in which itís more fun playing by yourself than with a friend or three. The camera can be an issue Ė its struggles to keep everyone on-screen can sometimes leave someone off-screen and faced with a no-see death. Thereís also an issue with limited respawns which can turn a player into a spectator for the remainder of a level, and thatís no fun. Still, if youíre a completist youíll want to give co-op a go as it will help you reach areas of the levels that canít be reached on your own.

Final Rating: 77%. If youíre looking to recapture a bit of that old school Sonic magic, you might want to put on some Fancy Pants.

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