I’ve lived with Paw Patrol for the last couple of years. Ever since my boy, Charlie, discovered those talking pups on Netflix, it has been a mainstay in my household. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been kicked off the living room TV so that the boy can watch Ryder and his gang of dogs save Adventure Bay. I thought those days had come to an end with Charlie’s discovery of Super Mario Odyssey and Minecraft, but history has a tendency to repeat itself, and as I sit writing this review, that little brat is jumping on the sofa screaming the Paw Patrol theme song. Send help…
Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay is inspired by the Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups movie, which we’ve yet to see. It’s not required watching to enjoy this game, thankfully, but I reckon it’s only a matter of time before internet advertising algorithms force the movie into my house.
The game is a simple one and it’s obviously aimed at kids. You take on over a dozen missions with Ryder, Chase, Rocky, Zuma, and the rest of the Paw Patrol gang. But things are a little different. The pups are now superheroes, kind of.
The story is very loose, but the main point is that a meteor has crashed in Adventure Bay. The team are dispatched to help remove the giant space rock, only to end up gaining fancy super space powers from the meteor. And that’s your story, basically. The rest of the missions follow the format of the TV show, and they’re basically playable episodes where you rescue people from the silly situations they’ve gotten themselves into. Instead of the story being anything worth paying attention to, it’s there as a device to give the pups those powers and make the gameplay a little more interesting as the pups use their newfound powers.
In keeping with the kid-friendly image of the TV show, there’s no combat. And that’s OK. Instead, it’s a platforming game where you run through the levels to reach your goal. Along the way you can – and should – collect the pup treats littered throughout, as well as the hidden badges to unlock the collectables and the mini-games.
It’s very simple stuff and really easy for younger players to get to grips with. I played a few hours with Charlie and within moments he was able to figure out the controls. That’s because they’re really simple, not because he’s a child prodigy, unfortunately. Movement is obviously on the stick, and jumping is mapped to the cross button. To keep things easy for younger players, the right stick goes unused with the camera automatically moving with the player’s movements. Naturally, I found this a little odd as I would instinctively flick at the right stick, but for Charlie it was just fine, and he appreciated how easy it was to play. In his words “it’s not like Minecraft, Daddy, I don’t need all the buttons.”
The missions are straightforward and there’s no chance of getting lost. You follow the linear path through the levels – though there are some branches that you can explore a little bit – and you initiate the actions when required. Each character has their own skills that are used for different sections, so Rubble can drill, Marshall can use his heat power, Chase can used his zip-line, and so on. These moments are a little like Quick Time Events where you’ll have to follow the on-screen instructions to complete the task. Again, it’s simple stuff, and for a man of my years, it’s painfully dull after a while. But for a kid who has not yet become jaded by the world, it’s a good, fun challenge every time.
Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups has co-op support, too, so you can play two-player with your kid, or if you happen to have two kids, you can throw them into the game together. The co-op works really well and while it doesn’t change the game drastically, it was much more fun playing with my mini-me beside me, rather than by myself at 3 AM in the morning to get this review done for release day.
The multiplayer isn’t perfect, though. When a character-specific task comes up, like climbing a wall or drilling, control is handed over to the player who has control of that character, leaving the other player with nothing to do. It’s not a big deal as these moments tend to last for less than a minute, but I can imagine some unruly kids taking offence to being left out, even if it is just a momentary time-out.
There’s plenty to keep the younger players happy in Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups. The levels are all full of collectable pup treats, and you get a prize for collecting them all in each level. Even though I’m a top-tier player, I still managed to miss a few when I played by myself, so kids will be kept busy for ages. Plus, there are mini-games that are unlocked as you progress. These range from a simple rhythm game based on Pup Pup Boogie from the show, to simple flying missions. They’re OK for what they are, but they didn’t keep me entertained for long. But then again, I’m not the target audience – Charlie is, and he’s still playing the bloody game… Welcome back to Harding Manor, Paw Patrol…
Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
Paw Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay is simple fun for young players and it stays largely in-line with the source material. There’s plenty to do and co-op mode is always a plus. It’s let down by some mundane tasks and limited voice acting, but kids won’t really care about its shortcomings. Oh, and the theme tune has had a remix – yay for a new earworm!
- Really easy controls and gameplay that kids can pick up and play instantly
- Clean graphics and easy to navigate menus
- Lots of collectables to keep busy with
- Co-op for two players
- Simple mini-games to play after the main missions have been completed
- Some of the actions get a bit tedious
- The pups aren’t voiced, only Ryder is
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.