This review comes from myself and my mini Blaavenger, a 6-year-old lifelong Paw Patrol fan, not so much the shows anymore but still the movies and games. 5 games in, and it’s the first semi-open-world Paw Patrol game. Developed by 3DClouds and published by Outright Games, released on 29th September 2023.
We’ve played all 4 previous games together, so suit up and hop in. The Blaavengers are On A Roll!
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Nearly every parent out there knows the Paw Patrol, most of us wish we didn’t, but we do (the theme song is burned in my brain………be there on the double…)
Anyone new to Paw Patrol, turn back now; it’s not too late. The Paw Patrol is a group of talking pups led by a mini Tony Stark-level tech genius, Ryder, who all serve different rescue purposes: police, fire, air, sea, mountain, jungle, recycling, and construction. They live in and provide their services to Adventure Bay, a seaside town run by Mayor Goodway, an enthusiastic lady with a distinct obsession with her pet chicken.
The pups mainly help the residents with day-to-day minor rescues and fixes but from time to time they have to band together to contend with the catastrophic scenarios created by the neighboring town of Foggy Bottom’s Mayor Humdinger and his Kitty Catastrophe Crew, who are all styled after the Paw Patrol.
The game assumes you’re up to speed with all things Paw Patrol. The team is well established with Ryder and the original 6 pups, Chase, Marshal, Skye, Rubble, Rocky, and Zuma, plus the newer additions, Everest and Tracker.
The residents of Adventure Bay are holding a new celebration, Paw Patrol Day. Of course, Mayor Humdinger and his Kitten Catastrophe Crew won’t be having any celebrating of the Paw Patrol of any kind. Instead, he wants to celebrate his own festival in Foggy Bottom. Mayor Humdinger and his kitties decide to disrupt all of the preparations for the festival and more, so it’s up to the pups to work together to foil all of his attempts to stop Paw Patrol Day. Their adventure takes them from Adventure Bay to the Jungle, Jake’s Mountain, and even Barkingburg.
Gameplay, for the most part, is exploring the open areas, collecting pup treats to unlock cosmetics for the pups and their vehicles, and completing missions and side missions. There are some interactive elements, such as slides, digging, ramps, and some pup-specific actions.
Every gameplay scenario is just press square to do the action which is scripted and non-interactive. Playing co-op means the second player can cheer (by pressing square!) while the other player does the scripted action.
One thing about Co-op that I must commend is the fact that you can both pay as the same pup. This prevents the chance of any future fights between 2 players wanting to be the same pup if one was locked to the other.
The vehicles are all controlled with the left stick, up is drive forward, back is reverse, and left and right is turn. The shoulder buttons are mainly unused, the decision to have the driving controls with the stick only instead of R2/L2 and stick is a bit counterintuitive in my opinion.
Also, a very strange/lazy choice is that Skye’s jetpack is not usable in free roam and her helicopter behaves like a car, with no flying around the open areas, except for scripted moments. Lost elements of fun there.
Another missed element is the lack of any mini-games. Previous games had a dancing game (Pup Pup Boogie), an obstacle course, driving courses, and more. Why strip away parts of previous games that would have fit so well in an open game?
The graphics are actually quite good this time around. The previous game’s iterations of the pups and characters were somewhat dead-eyed and lifeless, or “kinda creepy,” as Mini B puts it. The character models, vehicles, and environments look like they were pulled directly from the show. Everything is just as bright and colorful as expected from an episode. The pups wag their tails while stopped and have their typical jaunty gallop while moving.
The areas themselves are quite lifeless. While looking nice, there is a distinct lack of anything really going on. There are a couple of set pieces in each area with kind of barren filler roads and trails in between them.
A couple of residents walk around, but the are very few and far between, and there’s no traffic on the roads. Side quest givers stand there blankly, waiting for you to approach them and press square to start their mission.
All the original cast from the show have lent their vocal talents to the game which gives it way more authenticity compared to previous games. Ambient sounds, vehicle noises and the soundtrack are very well done and easily recognizable.
Less is more…..Way less, please!
One main gripe I have is the fact that every menu option on the start and pup select screens are voiced. Selecting a pup opens the pup select wheel, and as you cycle through, they say their own name, great the first time around, not so much the 20th time. There is an option in the main menu to have a menu reader; selecting this to off should include the pup select and start screens.
Not much in the replayability here; once you’ve completed the game, the options are to roam around the areas to collect all the treats, costumes, stickers, and side missions or start over.
Any fan of the show is going to love this. It’s an original story with some callbacks to earlier episodes. The gameplay is very simple; actions are just pressing square to do task/rescue/win, so it would be geared towards a younger gamer; older kids would get bored of this very quickly. There is quite a bit to see and everything looks quite good. Great game for “my first videogame.”
- Good Visuals
- The Original Voice Cast
- Play as all the Pups
- Overly simple and repetitive gameplay
- Speaking Menus and Pup selection screens
- No Minigames