If you have ever played a flash game on the interwebs, you've likely played a game or two made by a fellow named Brad Borne. Borne is the creative mind behind The Fancy Pants Adventures which had its humble beginnings coded in Flash. The version available online, both World 1 and World 2 are incredibly popular on sites like Newgrounds and Armor Games so much that EA tapped Borne and Over The Top Games studio to bring it to consoles under the EA2D label with the title The Fancy Pants Adventures.
The Fancy Pants Adventures is your typical 2D side-scroller mixed-in with some parkour-esque elements. The story goes that Fancy Pants Man has to rescue his sister, Cutie Pants, after she is captured by pirates. In your way are spiders, odd gun-toting mice, snails, crabs, pirates, bats and the occasional parrot or two. In each of the worlds that are available, players can do a few things; they can tap into their collect-a-thon style of gameplay and obtain the numerous stars and squigglies hidden throughout the level. They can also do various tasks throughout the level such as collecting gold squiggles (reminiscent of the timed coin collecting in Super Mario. Bros) or completing races, trick attacks (my personal favorite) and other random tasks. Of course, players can run through the levels without doing any of that but really, you'd be cheating yourself out of a great experience.
Controlling Fancy Pants Man is pretty simple. You can jump, wall jump, crouch, and use your weapon. There are other little intricacies but luckily, the game features a tutorial when you first get into story mode. You can customize Fancy Pants Man with a hat, weapon and fancy pants of choice. As you progress through the game, you can unlock over 140 different weapons and clothing options. The weapons feel a little bit tacked on as you don't get to use them until very late in the game, and they are not much use in multiplayer mode. It would've been a more challenging experience to keep weapons out of the game entirely.
Yes, customization. It goes along with how cute (yes, cute) and hilarious The Fancy Pants Adventures is. Visuals are like playing through those random doodles you used to do in your composition notebooks during long division and I'm sure the graphic artists behind the game would take that as a compliment. From the looks of the playful (and often self-deprecating) dialogue in story mode, it looks like the EA2D team had a ball developing the title.
I started out playing the story mode alone, but remembered my experience with New Super Mario Bros and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Arcade. Both games are meant to be played with friends, and The Fancy Pants Adventure is the same way. That's not to say that the single player mode isn't redeeming.. You can pull off all the parkour acrobatics and pull off most of the tasks, but the whole time the game is screaming for you to play online (even the trailer below insists on it) or with friends–heck, some of the stars are out of reach for your Fancy Pants Man alone.
And why wouldn't you? The game truly shines with the multiplayer experience. Not only can you play through the story mode with up to four players, you can also compete in the tasks that you unlocked in story mode in the arcade. The winning players are awarded random goods that can be used to customize their Fancy Pants Man. You can also attack, jump, and bump each other all over the huge maps that are online. During local multiplayer there were a few complaints about the camera work and not being able to see their character after falling behind. The game will place players back near their opponents if they fall off of the map, but the system is pretty "cheap" especially while playing the racing competitions as it doesn't seem to penalize the player for faltering.
The Fancy Pants Adventures is a like a good pair of college sweatpants; fun, comfortable, and you look better in them if your friends are wearing a pair too. Sure, there are a couple pizza stains here and there, but they don't change the fact that these things are so gosh darn versatile. The Fancy Pants Adventures translates quite well from Flash to the console, which to be honest was a pleasant surprise. Gameplay is solid, and the acrobatics makes it one of the best non-Mario platformers I've played in recent memory. For 10.00 or 800 Microsoft Points, The Fancy Pants Adventures is a game that has high replay value–like most collect-a-thons. However, the inclusion of the highly enjoyable multiplayer mode and added bonus of being able to unlock World 1 and World 2 from the online titles, makes The Fancy Pants Adventures money/points well spent–especially if you are a fan of Little Big Planet or Super Mario Brothers. And really, who can resist a pair of fancy pants?
REVIEW SCORE: B
The Fancy Pants Adventures is available now on the Xbox Live Arcade and Playstation Network for 800 Points or 10.00 dollars respectively.