Video games based on movies have a mediocre track record, to put it nicely, so I can’t fault anyone for overlooking The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure. After all, it’s a 2D platformer based off an animated film targeted at children. It’s a recipe for disaster, but apparently developer Behaviour Interactive didn’t get the memo, as their latest game is a charming surprise.
Following in the footsteps of games such as Kirby’s Epic Yarn and Yoshi’s Woolly World, Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is a simple platformer that focuses on the basics of the genre. It also has a fantastic art style, adopting the same look as the recent film release, which helps it stand out from other releases. Behaviour Interactive also decided to create a game that is fundamentally sound (except for some rather unfortunate lag that happens when the screen scrolls in some stages), rather than break new ground, and that decision paid off.
Snoopy starts off as a pretty generic hero, as he can only jump and do an adorable trick where he can glide in midair by spinning his ears in a circle, but after a few basic platforming levels, he’ll eventually start to unlock different costumes. These costumes give Snoopy different abilities. For example, when he dons the Beagle Scout outfit, Snoopy can climb vines. There are only a handful of outfits in the game, but each one changes the gameplay up a considerable amount.
While most levels in Snoopy’s Grand Adventure can be completed by simply running towards the right, there are 300 jelly beans to collect in each stage. You won’t be able to get all of the beans in one go, however, as players will have to use costumes that they unlock later to get to some of the trickier spots. This is a smart way of adding replayability to the game, and it adds a small amount of puzzle solving for completionists.
Each stage also holds other collectibles such as hidden Beagle Scouts, the adorable bird friends of Woodstock, and trying to find everything in every level will add some challenge in what is otherwise a very easy game. As expected from a title targeted at children, Snoopy’s Grand Adventure won’t test any experienced gamer’s reflexes. By making the challenge (finding all the collectibles) an optional one, Behaviour Interactive has crafted a game that is extremely accessible to folks of all ages.
Adding some much needed variety about halfway in is an entire world based around Snoopy’s fantasies of being a pilot. The beagle hops on his doghouse and takes flight, and the game plays like a shooter for an entire world. Much like the main game, it also feels extremely polished. Adorably, instead of shooting enemies with bullets, Snoopy’s doghouse simply displays the words “Rat Tat Tat Tat.” It’s these small touches that make the game really stand out from other movie tie-ins.
Behaviour Interactive clearly are fans of the license, and put a lot of effort into this project. What’s neat is that every single costume that Snoopy puts on has its own cute idle animation. For example, players get to see Snoopy’s Joe Cool persona try to act too cool for school in his animation (and hilariously his special ability is to literally freeze enemies). This is one of the most charming games of 2015, and a true delight for any Peanuts fans.
While individual stages won’t impress seasoned gamers with their level design, the final stage in each individual world will. The boss fights are one of the highlights of the game, and each one offers up a unique challenge. From a level that resembles a gigantic pinball table to an awesome dogfight with the Red Baron himself, these encounters are all expertly crafted.
The only area where Snoopy’s Grand Adventure really disappoints is in its total length, which comes in at a measly few hours. It’s easily completed in a single sitting, and the only reason to go back is if players want to find all the jelly beans. It should also be noted that there is two-player cooperative play, the second player plays as the flying Woodstock, which is a nice addition for a game made for kids.
The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is a template that all movie tie-ins should follow. Behaviour Interactive has managed to make an enjoyable experience that stays true to the movie by focusing on solid fundamentals, and respecting the source material. While it’s over way too soon, players both young and old will find a lot to like in this charming platformer.
This review is based on the Xbox One version, with which we were provided with.
The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy's Grand Adventure is a movie tie-in done right. It pays respect to the source material, has solid fundamentals, and is an enjoyable platformer while it lasts. It isn't the longest experience, but there is plenty of fun for Peanuts fans to have.