I’ll be honest, I don’t play many flash games. Usually I end up playing the flash game after its already graduated to an iPod or downloadable game release. So when I saw The Fancy Pants Adventures and was quoted over 100 million downloads of the original flash games of the series, I realized I was in the minority of never having played it. Brad Borne, the game’s original creator who started the game in his college dorm room, is responsible for bringing a brand new title to Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Called The Fancy Pants Adventures the title isn’t only expanding with all new levels and modes that weren’t available in its flash counterpart, its adding two player co-op gameplay.
In The Fancy Pants Adventures you control a hand drawn stick figure that wears orange pants (your partner controls one in purple). The game play will remind you a bit of N+, you need to jump from platform to platform and collect objects, in this case, little squiggle coins. What sets this game apart is that you are actually capable of attacking enemies like spiders and pirates along the way. This is done by simply jumping on top of an enemy’s head - ala Mario - though later on we were told you can get melee weapons like a pencil.
Co-Op adds some nice dynamics to the Fancy Pants formula - for one - you can actually launch your partner in the air by having them jump on your head. The game has a “loose physics” kind of feel which makes it very playful and almost sandbox-y when trying to reach those hard to get to areas in the hand drawn worlds. As you run you build up momentum and can find yourself running up walls or even upside down. One annoying thing that always seems to happen in co-op platformers is being tied to your partner’s screen - thankfully Fancy Pants has a camera that pans back an enormous ways. Not once during the first few levels of the game did my co-op partner and I ever get separated enough to have someone completely off the screen.
Speaking of the levels, we were told the game wasn’t just featuring brand new levels - it would include the original two game’s levels as well. On top of this there’s also some racing mini-games, timed leaderboards, and other unannounced game modes.
With its light hearted gameplay, The Fancy Pants Adventures seems like a great family game to play co-op with your kids. The game still retains a hardcore kind of appeal thanks to its physics style puzzles, but its just as fun to run straight through as fast as you can.
The Fancy Pants Adventures will be out on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network this Spring. For now we were told the co-op is local only, but there's more announcements planned for the game in the future. You can play the flash prequels on the official website right now.