Bit of an odd game, this one! The Fancy Pants Adventure started life as a Flash game and was welcomed by the gaming community, very similar to Supermeat Boy. Just like SMB, it has now made its way to consoles. There is little doubt that the success of SMB was the reason for TFPA making its way to home consoles, but is it good enough to set itself apart?
You can see the similarities between Supermeat Boy and The Fancy Pants Adventure almost straight away. As with SMB, TFPA requires the player to take control of a hero on a mission. In this case the hero is Mr. Fancy Pants, a stickman with spiky hair and, of course, fancy pants! To begin with, Mr. Fancy Pants is charged with recovering the Mayor’s bathtub, which has been stolen by some pirates! No sooner has Mr. Fancy Pants retrieved the tub, when his sister is kidnapped by said pirates.
You must travel through the levels (mostly left to right) in order to progress. Each level has various obstacles to overcome. They range from enemy creatures to complex platforming sections. However, Fancy Pants is a rather nimble fellow, who can run, swim, slide and wall jump. He is also armed with a pencil (in later levels) which can be used to vanquish enemies. This game isn’t really about the story, though; it’s about that 100% completion achievement. If you want to get from one side of a level to another, it’s rather easy. But each level has collectibles, bonus areas, and hidden items that will all need to be found and completed in order to complete each level 100%. It’s a completionist’s dream!
That it also where the game can become frustrating. It’s easy enough to start of with, but as you work your way through the levels, collecting all of the bonus items can become a nightmare. It also doesn’t help that the controls are a little floaty especially as reaching some of the collectibles requires pinpoint accuracy. There are also the bonus rooms, which will require you to complete a certain task, normally in a time limit. You will find yourself having to try these again and again. Once done, you do get a certain sense of satisfaction.
You will also need the help of a friend in order to get those hard to reach collectibles. This game supports both local and online multiplayer, for up to 4 players and, by having some friends with you, you can get to those hard to reach parts of the levels, otherwise unattainable in a single player run through. Adding the 4-player co-op helps the game stand out and certainly works in its favour, as playing with friends makes the whole thing more enjoyable.
This game may not appeal to people who just want to get from point A to point B, as the game doesn’t provide much of a challenge in that sense. The challenge comes from finding everything the game has hidden, tucked away in the corners.
The visual style of the game does a lot for it, as does the sound/music. It adds charm not normally seen in games (even XBLA/PSN ones) these days. There is also plenty of choice when it comes to pimping out Mr Fancy Pants. You will unlock new Fancy Pants, hats and weapon styles after each level, which can then be used to customise the little fella. It’s not groundbreaking, but does mix things up a bit, adding some variety. The NPCs also play a big part in advancing the story and guiding you to the bonus levels. The writing for these characters is sharp and funny, and the animation is colourful and reminds me a lot of early 80s British cartoons, such as Rhubarb & Custard and Henry’s Cat! That is no bad thing, and it’s refreshing to see a game more focused on gameplay, rather than how pretty it looks.
If you liked Supermeat Boy, then there is no reason for you not to love this game. Sure they’re similar, but The Fancy Pants Adventure does enough to stand alongside SMB, instead of being just an average clone. Be warned, though, Mr. Fancy Pants can be just as frustrating as Meat Boy!
Review copy provided by publisher.