There hasn't been that many games from the Peanuts gang over the years. Sure, we saw Snoopy take on the Red Baron and enjoy a few rounds of Tennis but this adventure promises to be grand! However, it probably isn't as grand as you're lead to believe...
With the new Peanuts movie delighting families across the world, they decided to release an accompanying game to mark the occasion. When you first boot it up, you'll be pleasantly surprised by how authentic it all comes across. The opening cinematic is bursting with classic Peanuts charm and the in-game graphics are overflowing with aspects of Snoopy's unyieldingly active imagination. Just watching our favourite beagle standing still as he casually breaks into a frantic dance will put a smile on anyone's face. They've done a masterful job of reinterpreting everything that makes Peanuts endearing for a gaming audience. The cherry on top is the phenomenal jazz music and piano pieces that have become synonymous with the franchise. Tapping your toe while you join Snoopy on his journey to eventually meet the entire gang is quite an enjoyable experience.
The whole journey is basically a series of 2D platforming levels. You control Snoopy by running, jumping, and changing hats in order to gain various abilities. It's platforming gameplay boiled down to its simplest form which actually makes for quite a refreshing change. If it wasn't for the tight controls then this simplicity wouldn't be as satisfying as it is. Each level is multifaceted with many nooks and crannies so exploration is a huge factor. Making it to the exit on its own is quite a fun adventure, but perfectionists will love trying to find the handful of Beagle Scouts and hundreds of jelly beans scattered throughout every stage. Each set of levels contains a boss at the end, too. Although none of them are difficult to overcome, they're unique enough to make you wonder what'll come next.
Some complexities slowly introduce themselves throughout the course of the campaign. These mostly come in the form of different wearable hats that transform our star into alternate versions of himself. Collecting all of the hats is necessary if you want to be able to reach every jelly bean and Beagle Scout but be prepared for some backtracking. These hats turn Snoopy into a Beagle Scout, astronaut, flying ace, masked marvel, detective, and Joe Cool himself. Each of these forms grants him a new ability such as being able to climb on vines, jump really high, and find false walls. The niftiest hat is of course Joe Cool which freezes enemies in their tracks and allows you to double-jump. Besides these hats, you can control Woodstock with a second controller. Considering he's limited to just activating switches and gathering jelly beans, don't expect to enjoy the whole game cooperatively with a pal. Interestingly enough, one group of levels plays like a side-scrolling shoot 'em up where Snoopy takes his doghouse for a spin. It's a great way to mix up the gameplay.
Although Snoopy's Grand Adventure is cute and fun, it also has a few crucial issues that may even make hardcore Peanuts fans think twice before making a purchase. First of all, the challenge is almost non-existent. Of course younger gamers won't mind but anyone who needs even a little bit of challenge will be disappointed. For example, when you get hit you can reclaim your lost heart within a few seconds. I finished the entire journey without ever fully depleting my health bar. The next downside is that the whole adventure is unbelievably brief. You can easily complete it within a couple of hours although trying to find everything has the potential to add an hour or two. Finally, I noticed that the camera doesn't follow Snoopy very well when he's moving fast. Sometimes when he's falling, you can't see what's below him thus resulting in him occasionally taking damage just because you're unaware of any imminent danger.
Snoopy's Grand Adventure is a wonderful interpretation of the Peanuts universe in video game form. Gamers looking for a short and easy walk in the park will thoroughly enjoy adventuring with Snoopy but everyone else should just buy a case of root beer instead.
- + Awesome music and graphics that stay true to the Peanuts franchise
- + Simple gameplay with solid controls
- + Changing hats adds layers of fun
- - Extremely easy with almost no significant challenge involved
- - Not as grand as it is brief
- - Camera sometimes lags