With Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang making their way back to theatres this winter in The Peanuts Movie; it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that a video game adaptation starring everyone’s favourite spotted beagle is arriving alongside its movie counterpart to cash in on the excitement. Developed by Behaviour Interactive, The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is a simple 2D side scrolling platformer centred on Snoopy. Unfortunately despite its source material, the game presents itself as a licensed tie-in that was rushed to production in order to match the film’s release date window, and not as a fun platforming game worth everyone’s time and money.
The Peanut Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure: Xbox One [Reviewed], Xbox 360, Playstation 4, Nintendo 3DS, Wii-U
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Release Date: 6 November 2015
Price: £39.99 [Disclosure Game Copy provided by Publisher]
The story is quite simple: It begins with the Peanuts gang meeting at Charlie’s house, where they all go to play hide and seek in his backyard as Snoopy is sleeping on his doghouse as he normally does. When he wakes up, he finds a trail of jellybean’s presumably left by the gang and heads off to find each member of the gang. The backyard then acts as a hub zone, and you are able to access different areas through various portals in Charlie Brown’s backyard. As you teleport to these areas, you’ll have to run and jump through several levels in that area which ends with some sort of boss encounter before you locate one of the kids. Unfortunately there isn’t much else to the story. It doesn’t have any other cutscenes, nor does it really tie in with the plot of the film in any sense. In fact if it didn’t have the name of the film in the title, you’d have never known that the game was tied to the film at all.
The gameplay is quite familiar to anyone who has ever played a traditional 2D side scroller. You start at one end of the level with the goal of reaching your doghouse at the other side of the level. Along the way you’ll bounce off of enemy heads, avoid hazardous pits, and collect jellybean’s as well as rescue the beagle scouts. There are also various outfits that you can unlock for Snoopy as your progress through the game. Each outfit unlocks a unique ability for Snoopy to use during the level.
For instance, the Beagle Scout costume allows Snoopy to climb on vines in the background, the Masked Marvel costume gives Snoopy the ability to run through walls, and the Joe Cool outfit allows Snoopy to perform a double jump and freeze nearby enemies. Even though the costumes allow Snoopy to perform different feats and access different areas, you are only able to switch between costumes at specific points in each level. Since you can only wear one costume at a time, there isn’t much in terms of versatility in each level and being able to explore using the Snoopy outfit that you want to use.
Throughout Snoopy’s adventure you’ll travel through lush jungles, an area based off of the ancient pyramids, to even the surface of the moon. Each level is colourful and quite different from the other zones. However, the level designs are largely uninspired, and the platforming is very easy and mundane. Eventually it gets difficult to tell one area from another because the only thing that really sets them apart is the backgrounds. In other words, every level essentially looks and plays the same, and there isn’t anything really unique about any of them.
The only place where the gameplay is different from the rest of the game is during the Skies of Paris zones. This is because it felt the most like a Peanuts game since you were playing as Snoopy riding his doghouse while pretending he was a veteran pilot. However these levels were also the most linear and straightforward as you were simply flying in a straight line while dodging ominous dark clouds and shooting down enemy planes and blimps. Needless to say every level had a generic layout to them, which made it more boring than fun to play by the end. The game is incredible short however, and will only take a couple of hours to complete for anyone who’s had any platforming experience.
Generally speaking, games based around licensed products are typically aimed at rushing a released product to coincide with the release of the film it’s tied to. Unfortunately, The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is another instance of this, since the game feels horribly rushed out to be launched at the same time as The Peanuts Movie. The game is incredibly short, each level has the same generic layout to them and basically plays the same, it doesn’t even really have much to do with the film it’s based off of. At a price tag of $64.99, it’s hard to recommend this game for even the most diehard Peanuts fan. I understand the game is intended for a very young audience however, so small children may find some enjoyment out of it. There are plenty of better options for anyone looking for a kid-friendly platforming games though, and any Peanuts fans are better off seeing the movie in theatres.