hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

The Fancy Pants Adventures

Review: The Fancy Pants Adventures (iOS)

2:00 PM on 03.28.2012 // Tony Ponce

Last April, the popular Flash platforming series The Fancy Pants Adventures received a home console installment for XBLA and PSN. For some reason, despite our hyping said game extensively, no one at Destructoid ever actually reviewed it. The people gotta know, man! The people gotta knoooooow!

Just over ten months later, the console version has been ported to iOS devices. Aside from the absence of the multiplayer modes, the two are pretty much identical. So I guess now would be as good a time as any to do a proper review, right?

The Fancy Pants Adventures (iPhone, iPad -- universal app)
Developer: Borne Games, Over the Top Games
Publisher: Chillingo
Released: March 1, 2012
MSRP: $0.99

The Fancy Pants Adventures is the kind of game Sonic the Hedgehog wishes it could be again -- a solid, momentum-based, 2D platformer that offers players the option of blazing through a level with style and finesse or slowing down and mining for secrets. Every stage is a playground replete with rolling hills, half-pipes, quarter-pipes, springs, scalable walls, and tons of collectible baubles called Squiggles, and you dispose of enemies by hopping on their noggin or rolling into them. Plus, there are no insufferable sidekicks or on-rails nonsense.

Depending on how fast you are running and which direction button you holding after you launch off a ramp, you can reach any number of distances and elevations -- getting to that gold star or bonus door often requires a few attempts to find that "sweet spot." Once airborne, you have just the slightest freedom over course correction, guided as you are by momentum yet allowed just enough control. It's easy to get frustrated in the beginning, but little by little, you learn to master the game's nuances.

Still, you aren't completely bound by physics. Some slopes grow steeper and steeper until you are running up a vertical wall, then the surface curves even more and you are running along the ceiling as though you are wearing magnetic boots. You can even slide across the surface of water for short periods of time. These stylish sections are fun rewards after a particularly harrowing obstacle, yet the game thankfully never devolves into a roller coaster ride that places style over practicality.

This style extends to the ambience as well. Your hero, Fancy Pants Man, rocks a bitchin' pair of flare pants; over the course of the game, you can collect over 140 items for avatar customization, including even more outrageous pants, hats, hairstyles, and goofy weapons like a giant fork or a dead parrot. The environment itself is rendered as the kind of doodles that a middle schooler would squeeze in the corner of his or her notebook, while the soundtrack is a nice mix of chill tunes and surf rock jams. It's all, like, very mellow, man.

I mentioned already that you can breeze through levels quickly, but you can greatly extend your play time by shooting for 100% completion. In addition to collecting all the Squiggles and stars in a stage, you can also find hidden challenge rooms, where you are tasked with completing a race within a time limit, racking points in parkour-like events, or collecting a number of a certain item. These challenges are the hardest parts of the game and often demand several retries, but it's the kind of difficulty that makes you feel all warm and gooey inside once you've succeeded.

The story mode, in which you must stop a band of pirates from making your sister their new pirate princess, consists of 11 levels. Beyond that, you can play slightly updated versions of "World 1" and "World 2," the original two Flash games. Then there is the Fancy Arcade, in which you can go for the gold by attempting several challenges from the the main game with stricter requirements, in addition to several new challenges. Add that to the oodles of unlockable costume items, and you've got a hefty adventure with hours of content.

But not all is gravy in The Fancy Pants Adventures. Swimming segments are a chore -- controls are extra sensitive underwater, so it's difficult to make just the slightest of turns without veering wildly off in different direction. Then there is your weapon, which you don't acquire until late in the game. It's cool to see FPM swinging his pencil / wooden sword / lightsaber / whatever-the-hell-custom-skin-you've-applied like a little ninja, but it's only really useful against very few enemies (i.e., other ninjas). Most baddies are better dispatched using the same stomping or rolling techniques you've been using since the beginning.

Worst of all (and this ought to come as no surprise) are the touch controls -- the left and right buttons especially give me no small amount of heartache. If my thumb is placed slightly on the left edge of the right button, it's registered as a "left." If I try to overcompensate and reach further out to the right, nothing is registered at all. From the moment I started playing to the moment I finished, I would frequently find myself in a situation where I meant to go right but wound up going the other way. Not even the colored pencil doodles and smooth guitar riffs can cool my rage when I'm forced yet again to climb back up a set of platforms because I missed the game's improperly sized and placed hitboxes.

The hitbox issues aren't limited to play controls, either. Text links as well as the arrows and buttons in the Fancy Arcade are so damn tiny that I wonder if this game was made for the dude with the tiny hands in that one Burger King commercial. My fingers and thumbs aren't that fat. There's no reason why I should be jamming the screen repeatedly because an arrow is the size of a pinprick. Maybe this isn't an issue on an iPad, but on an iPhone, an otherwise wonderful game is marred because I am not Salad Fingers.

Still, this iOS port is just as beefy as its console counterpart, only it's a full $9 cheaper. The multiplayer modes were sacrificed, but this is a single-player game first and foremost, anyway. If you consider yourself a patient player, hop aboard the Apple caboose and get all fancy and stuff.

Ultimately, The Fancy Pants Adventures is a chill, stylish platformer that is both fulfilling and satisfying... when its touch controls aren't giving you the business. If you can get over that really, really, really obstinate roadblock, you'll be just dandy.



The Fancy Pants Adventures - Reviewed by Tony Ponce
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Tony Ponce, Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure megaStryke Tips
(Decommissioned) Super Fighting Robot more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Jiraya avatarJiraya
Coming soon in Mortal Kombat XXX DLC - HUMILITALITY [youtube][/youtube]
Robo Panda Z avatarRobo Panda Z
Those N64-era THQ wrestling games have actually held up really well over the years. Take that, nostalgia!
Halflocke avatarHalflocke
Underhero a 2d side scrolling rpg on indie gogo
extatix avatarextatix
Heading off to Spiel in a bit. A whole lot of games there, just of the cardboard variety. I love me some board games.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
Finally finished The Witcher 3. Definitely one of the best games I've played in my 30 years or so of gaming. Now onward to Ground Zeroes/Phantom Pain.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
*playing an old ps1 game* "START and SELECT don't bring the menu up?! WELL WHAT THE FU-oh, it's Triangle..."
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
If anyone's playing Marvel Puzzle Quest (any platform) you should join my Alliance, RedRightHand, and help me kick some Galactus butt for their second anniversary event. (Please?)
Shinta avatarShinta
MGS Online Day 3. I have 3 character up to level 10 now, one in each class. They're all pretty handy, but I do miss the scout's mark speed the most on other classes.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The SW: Battlefront is pretty and has great sound design, but the gameplay is so shallow and has seemingly no depth! If the full game is like this I will be disappointed.
Torchman avatarTorchman
*looks at Amazon preorder* This one's for you Chib'
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Dear Playboy: Love your video game coverage, but how about you start making some topless unboxing videos? Seeing someone unwrap a copy of Call of Duty is boring. Seeing a topless Playmate unwrap a copy of anything is awesome!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
In happier news, Level-5 is already talking Yo-Kai Watch 2's Western release, and better/worse yet, they're considering amiibo support for the series! And hey, if they can't get Jibanyan into Smash, that'd be one way to get the West's attention.
gajknight avatargajknight
I drank a glass of Ovaltine for the first time in years today. It was nice. Like drinking a glass of my childhood, complete with ignorance, embarrassing angst, tears (so many tears) and night terrors. Ah, the good 'ol days.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] This is just depressing. Digital classics on consoles are such a great idea, but it's like not a single company wants to really go through with it.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
My heart will always be yours, Papyrus #2spoopy4me
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
I recently beat Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow again, but this time I played on Hard mode from scratch. Outside of dying a few times due to me being an idiot, and enemies hitting harder, it was actually easy. Like really easy.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Today I replated bacteria that I made take up a plamid hopefully stitched onto the genes generatlight. Taken from other dead bacteria and put into a non glowing species, to make it glow. Fucking microbiology is the best.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
It seems fairy farts are a fragrance, a soap, incense, a vaping liquid and a kind of nail polish. I'm clearly in the wrong line of work and need to eat more chili.
Cannibal Steven avatarCannibal Steven
"You gave the Lost Soul a big smile, like you remember she likes to do... For some reason she sort of wants to smile back..." I'm not crying. Not one bit.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Just tried 'The Last Of Us' on PSNow Trial, only to be told... 'Something went wrong. Try again.' Game-appropriate error message or quickie plot-summary?
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
The Fancy Pants Adventures

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -