Genre: 2.5D Platformer
Release date: December 22, 2015
Behaviour Interactive, based in Montreal, Canada and Santiago, Chile, is known for its licensed games. It's churned out branded fare from Ice Age to Bugs Bunny to The Transformers to Alvin and the Chipmunks and everything in between. This Christmas they gift us with The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure.
Despite its cumbersome title, the game is super easy to pick up and play. It’s a very basic, classic side-scroller.
Whether the game is for you or not depends on two things: First, your level of love for the Peanuts franchise. Second, your affection for very traditional 2D platformers.
Though I haven’t seen the recent film, I've been a Peanuts fan since basically birth (I’ve performed in the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” not once but twice). I particularly love the early television specials and the incredible music Vince Guaraldi wrote for them.
So I score high on the first criterion. Snoopy’s adventure begins at his dog house in Charlie Brown’s yard. This area serves as the traditional “hub world” of the game, and the music assigned to this level is none other than Guaraldi’s classic “Linus and Lucy.” The music in the other levels isn’t by Guaraldi, but it’s still jazzy and infectious.
Snoopy is adorable as usual and his “at rest” face is that famous Snoopy smirk. Again, if you’re a Peanuts fan as I am, you'll just like looking at Snoopy move around the screen.
On the second criterion – love of traditional 2D platformers, I only score a so-so. While I truly dug into and loved the amazing wealth of 3D platforming adventures on the PS2 a few years back (particularly the Ratchet & Clank series, but also several others), I’ve always pretty much sucked at 2D platformers. This has been true all the way back to Super Mario Brothers. I’m just not very good at them after the first few levels.
However, The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure isn’t out to strain your reflexes. It just wants to charm you and give you a few hours of light-hearted fun.
The look of the game is rendered in “2.5D” and the levels are as bright and colorful as a kids’ storybook. This is, in fact, a game for children. An adult who’s good at 2D platformers would probably get bored pretty quickly. The level of challenge is much more my speed however, and I really enjoyed hopping over dangerous spiders, floating upwards in magical gas puffs, and swimming.
The paper-thin premise of the game is that Snoopy is looking for his friends, who are all playing hide and seek. This search takes him through six worlds, each with several levels. There’s the Peppermint Jungle, The Temple of Bunnies, Lunar Surface, Parisian Underground, Skies of Paris, and Melody Chateau.
Skies of Paris is a nice break from all of the other platforming, as it’s a flying area where you eventually get to take on the Red Baron himself! (Well, sort of.)
All of this activity is in pursuit of the 300 jelly beans which populate each level. There’s no way to get all 300 on your first run through a level, but the game doesn’t require you to. As you explore new areas, you unlock different outfits for Snoopy that grant him special abilities such as extended jumps, climbing vines, or freezing enemies.
Each level has a “Boss Fight” that’s so twee I have to put it in quotation marks. This is not a complaint. It’s kind of cute to work on these kiddie boss fights. Defeating each one allows you to add one more Peanuts character to your hub world.
The game also features a co-op mode where a second player can join as Woodstock, who can periodically help Snoopy out at designated spots in the levels.
While the game does feature that one piece of Guaraldi’s, it’s got a delightful original score by Lee Blaske which is infectious and adds to the atmosphere of fun.
There is a gentle difficulty curve that ramps up as you work your way through the levels. But even at my level of 2D platforming incompetence, I didn’t have too hard a time.
The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure isn’t going to change your life, but it provides a few colorful and diverting hours of lighthearted fun. It’s a solid choice for that young kid gamer in your life, as well.
+ Same pleasing 2.5D look as the recent film
+ Fun music
+ Fun (if basic) platforming action
- Quite short
- Minimal challenge