Review: The Fancy Pants Adventures
The Fancy Pants Adventures is an HD port of the beloved flash games by Brad Borne. But wait, there’s more! A whole lot more, as it turns out. After a week with Fancy Pants, I’d have to say that it’s one of the better platformers on the PlayStation Network. It fills a gap that Sonic the Hedgehog fanboys felt was left open by Sonic 4. What I mean is that The Fancy Pants Adventures is a 2D platformer that puts an extreme amount of emphasis on momentum. Once you get a hang of the gravity-defying, wall-running platforming, you’ll find a very fun time that can be enjoyed by up to four players at once. The animation style is doodley, the graphics are crisp, and there’s no slowdown to be experienced whatsoever.
As I mentioned above, this is a momentum-based platformer. Everything rests on your ability to flow through loopy terrain. Once you get a hang of the physics, the adept level design becomes clear, but at first you’ll probably hit a few snags that slow you down and break your stride. I found that quickly enough, though, I was a regular Matthew Wilder, zooming through levels, stopping only to collect a few errant squiggles scattered throughout. Speaking of squiggles…
Let me take a moment to outline the content The Fancy Pants Adventures features. I’ve only barely played the first episode of Fancy Pants, available here. Another episode was made, too. Check Brad’s site for access to all of his games. Those two are included in this version of Fancy Pants, as well as a completely new, 11-level story mode that spans a bunch of different environments. There are cityscapes, beaches, a pirate ship, and more to be trotted along. Each level contains a few secret doors that bring you to different challenges. In addition to the story mode, there’s the Fancy Arcade, a one-stop destination for all single-player challenges, and a bunch of multiplayer maps to play King of the Hill and Race with friends online and off. What’s cool about Fancy Pants Man is that he can be outfitted with hats, weapons, and, of course, pants.
There are a ton of unlockables. 141 costume pieces can be unlocked in a variety of ways. Many will be unlocked by completing challenges, but a bunch more are available by simply playing through the game with friends. Everything but the Fancy Arcade is playable with up to four people. There’s even a pair of American Flag pants to be had. That’s patriotism. At any point during offline multiplayer, you can access your wardrobe and change your outfit. Completionists (myself included) will feel compelled to get 100% in each level of the story mode. The levels are short enough and fun enough to warrant multiple playthroughs, so you won’t feel hard-pressed to get 100% the first time through.
The game can be played online, offline, or a combination of the two. However, when playing online with a couple of my friends, we couldn’t access the wardrobe at all. The result was three sombrero and rainbow pants-wearing, fishbone-wielding Fancy Pants Men against one Brad. Needless to say, we lost our place on screen every ten seconds or so. Another gripe I had with the multiplayer is that there’s no drop-in/drop-out functionality. You have to quit to the title screen to add/remove players. The loading times aren’t crippling so it’s not too much of a hassle, but drop-in would have been really welcome in this title. Multiplayer is fun in that it changes the way you play the game. You can boost teammates a variety of different ways, including kicking them like a soccer ball, whacking them with a heavy attack, or jumping on their heads. This type of cooperation is great, except when you’re trying to get across tricky, tight platforming sections. Also, if one player is far more familiar with the maps, the others playing with him will often get left in his fancy dust. The camera pulls out to a point then simply leaves players off-screen to be respawned in a few seconds. I’d say the best multiplayer modes are the King of the Hill maps and the Races. They can be found in your hub world home, and you can choose to play a tournament of random maps at any time.
The other cabinet in your home is the Fancy Arcade, which features a myriad of single player challenges. Race, Collection, Combo, and Golf round out the categories of challenges. You must first find the challenges in the story mode to unlock them, but they’re damned fun to play again and again. You get a medal for how quickly you complete these challenges, and there are a fair amount of them. It’s easy to find yourself replaying the same race challenge 20 times to perfect the course and achieve a gold medal. This kind of addictiveness made me visit the Fancy Arcade often. Each Fancy Arcade activity has its own leaderboard, which is cool.
Four player co-ompetitive gameplay in most modes is a nice touch for Fancy Pants. Custom Soundtrack support is one of my favorite features on most PS3 games, but the music in Fancy Pants is very good, so you may not even need to listen to the same three Blake Shelton songs on repeat for hours on end. Leaderboards for Story, VS, and all challenge levels is nice. The ability to change your wardrobe at any time is great, except for the fact that you can’t access that feature at all while playing online. Overall, the multiplayer is a fun experience. The arcade games are great fun, even though the races aren’t too competitive unless everyone’s at the same skill level. Replayability comes in the form of completing all story levels with 100% and playing through the previous games in HD, something I welcomed since I hadn’t played the first two episodes. It’s a great game once you figure out how to get around, and it’s well worth the asking price of $10.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
What I Like:
- Fluid, free-flowing platforming
- Multiplayer in all modes
- Fancy Arcade
- Humorous writing
- Lots of content
What I Dislike:
- Platforming is tricky at first
- No online wardrobe
- No drop-in/drop-out