Parents around the globe will groan in harmony when they hear the phrase children’s entertainment program. Whether its; Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom, Bluey, In the Night Garden, Paw Patrol, or others, they fill us with dread. These programs no longer simply exist on screen, they have leaked into books, magazines, toys, and video games. Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay is one such title that aims to move its young audience from voyeurs to a player in its elaborate story and many missions.
Developed by Drakhar studio S.L. and published by Outright Games LTD, this is a colourful 3D open-world adventure title. Released in 2020, the second game in the series follows from the well-received Paw Patrol: On a Roll. Aimed primarily at families and a younger audience, there is little within the gameplay that will challenge the older player. But the difficulty is set just right to let the youngest family members have fun, and there is enough there to push older siblings.
Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay tries to emulate the TV series, but feels flat.
From the opening scene, my kids loved everything about Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay. The character models, the interaction with all the pups, and the ability to explore Adventure Bay. They were in their element, working through the basic missions, collecting every item, and ensuring that each chosen pup was doing his/her part. Sadly though, as an adult watching on it felt flat and lacked the energy that buzzes around each episode. The voice work sounded off, and it appeared very laid back and lethargic.
But what I thought mattered not! My three mini beasts couldn’t be swayed, and they were glued to it until I insisted that the fun had to end. Luckily, because of the simplicity of most of the tasks, I didn’t have to endure the action for very long. Offering my assistance was simply met with sighs and plenty of eye rolls (they must get that from their mother). The developers have gotten the balance within the missions just right, as my help was needed only a few times.
Little in the way of a story.
As I loaded in, I expected there to be some odd story that the kids would follow throughout. This wasn’t the case! A meteorite has crash-landed in Adventure Bay, the Paw Patrol are required to clean up the mess and help the locals, and here is where the ambiguous link between missions starts and ends. You’ll play through seven micro missions and several mini-games solo, or with another pup by your side in couch co-op mode. Each mission asks you to assist a character from the TV series with a selection of tasks. Different pups are chosen for their expertise and the player must choose which one completes each job. Each stage comprises a basic objective, pup treats, 3 badges to find, and a Mighty Pup mini-game.
The small open-world space gives you the impression that the world is vast. In reality, invisible walls keep you within the limited playing area. You will search high and low for each of the collectables, using basic platform mechanics to reach higher spots. This may be too difficult for the youngest of players, but missing out on anything doesn’t stop you from progressing. This was one element I liked as it allowed older gamers a challenge that could be ignored by anyone it didn’t interest.
Mighty Pups and mini-games.
Once you have completed the objective, you must use your Mighty Pup powers to finish the stage. The mini-game asks you to use a series of button presses to move objects, or fix items. The same method was used throughout, which made it repetitive from an adult’s perspective, but for the kids, it ensured that they had simple and familiar mechanics to fall back on.
Once the mission is complete, you will unlock mini-games specific to that stage. These comprise a fun game for each of the pups and some of the regular Paw Patrol characters. You will play “Pup Pup Boogie”, clear snow with Everest, search for food with Mr Porter, and more. Mastering the games is a must if you wish to collect all the pup treats, and I admit I had fun busting a move in “Pup Pup Boogie”.
Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay looks dated and doesn’t have the TV series polish.
For as long as I can remember, film and TV adaptations to games have fallen short on visual presentation. I’m sure there are exceptions, but mostly they don’t live up to the hype. It’s with regret that Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay falls into this trap. The kids didn’t seem bothered by the slightly dated looks and rough edges, yet they got to me instantly. The colourful imagery masks most problems, as do the nice environments you explore, but the finish belongs to an early Xbox One title. It’s fair to say it matched my expectation. I was just a little disappointed that the developers didn’t advance the presentation much further than Torus Games did for Paw Patrol: On a Roll.
The audio is where the game is most true to the TV series. With familiar phrases, the much-loved theme song, and upbeat tunes all coming along for the ride. You will hum along to each song, tap your feet to “Pup Pup Boogie” and hide a chuckle when Marshall acts the clown. Everything about the soundtrack and effects will make you smile, and the developers did a great job with this element.
A kids game needs a simple control setup, and that’s what you get.
My kids are very inexperienced with computer games. I rarely let them play as I have few child-friendly titles. So, when the chance arrived for them to give one a go, they did not know about the controller layout. Gladly this didn’t impact their ability to pick this up and play it. Only a few buttons are mapped for use, and each is clearly displayed on the screen. The mini-games all follow the same pattern, so all they have to do is remember a few buttons, and they can play. It was a relief as I expected to have to help throughout, and it was a joy to see them enjoying the freedom that this virtual world offers.
Depending on the age of the player and their ability, this will either be a quick completion or hours of fun. With many collectables to find, over seven thousand pup treats to collect, and many mini-games to master, there is plenty to keep you playing. The achievement list requires everything to be collected and all mini-games to be finished so this will be out of reach for the youngest players. You can expect to have this completed in a little under four to five hours for older gamers. Once you have everything polished off, there will still be the desire to return to play as your favourite pup. The addition of a co-op mode adds longevity and makes this a fun-filled game for all the family.
Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay hits the right mark.
Something is refreshing about playing a game specifically aimed at a younger audience. Your children are safe while playing because of a lack of violence, smut, innuendoes or inappropriate content. With reduced difficulty, you are free to allow gamers of all ages free to try to complete each stage, though very young players will still require some help. Staying familiar with the TV series, Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay does brilliantly to appease its fan base. My kids adored it and I recommend you buy it here because of their reaction! Clear up the aftermath of the meteorite strike and help the locals get back to normality.