The Fancy Pants Adventures Review
The idea of a flash game having its own downloadable retail release is no longer as far-fetched as it once seemed. With games like Alien Hominid and N+ making the jump to consoles, it’s great that indie developers are getting the recognition they deserve. Enter Brad Borne and his fantastically stylized concept of Fancy Pants, a squiggly lined hero with some wonderfully fancy pants.
A pirate with a rainbow-colored beard is up to no good, terrorizing the people of Squiggleville. Our only savior is none other than the mohawk-sporting Fancy Pants, who zooms through levels and uses slick moves to save the day and his little sister. The story is there, but it's so paper thin and completely sporadic that it's hard to even pay attention to it. What will grab your attention are the graphics. They look like they were taken straight out of a third grader's sketchbook, but they're partly what gives this fancy game its charm.
Besides Mr. Fancy himself, the level design absolutely steals the show. Think back to the good old Sonic days, when levels were able to strike a perfect balance between sustained momentum and platforming bliss. This holds true for Fancy Pants, as well, at least to a degree. Though you won’t find any loops, plenty of hills, ramps, curved walls and springs propel Fancy through the levels, resulting in some very impressive and fluid animations. It’s incredible that a main character designed as a stick figure can still have such extremely believable moves.
Anyone familiar with the control mechanics of N+ will feel very comfortable here, or maybe quite the opposite. Since the game relies on keeping momentum, naturally you'll want to maintain constant movement. This sometimes ends up feeling like a chore due to Fancy’s painstakingly inaccurate jumps. Obviously, they’re meant to keep the action fluid, but oftentimes they make the platforming sections very tedious.
If you’re a gamer wary of dropping cash on what is technically a flash game on a console, rest easy. Fancy Pants has more than enough content to keep you busy for a long time. The main adventure will consume about a good hour or two, and completionists can revisit any level to nab the three bonus stars, collect all the squigglies, and master the two challenge rooms--not to mention the 140 accessories to unlock for Fancy. Earning enough stars opens up the original two flash games, and the Fancy Arcade provides a decent amount of extra challenge rooms. Count the fact that you can play the game locally and online with up to four players and you've got yourself hours of platforming enjoyment.
The Fancy Pants Adventures is an exceptional high speed platformer that accomplishes what Sonic has been trying to recapture for years now. The sense of speed and some fancy parkour moves are held back by some slight control issues, but it’s a platforming adventure well worth diving into.