Gaming

The Adventure Pals review: A peculiar platformer to play and troll your friends with!

Quirky, cute, and buggy

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If you haven’t heard of The Adventure Pals, it’s totally fine. It’s a fun platformer where you travel around with a pet rock and a giraffe in your backpack. Of course, there’s more to the game than just traveling with your pet rock and giraffe, but that alone is pretty interesting in itself. You have my attention, developers. I quickly installed it, played it, and wrote this.

Breaking news: I rode a unicorn giraffe

Before we get into the review though, I played this game in cooperative mode because who doesn’t like playing along with someone else. Also, did I mention Player 2 rides a unicorn giraffe? I’m pretty sure I mentioned it being far superior somewhere.

So, to truly test out this platformer in cooperative mode, I brought reinforcements: Richard, my boyfriend. He’d been the pushy one who wanted to play the game with me after a week of both of us just hopping from Night in the Woods to Overcooked. To his everlasting credit, he’d quickly convinced me to play it after he’d shown the trailer.

Downright silly

The game was inspired by a lot of charmingly quirky works — from surreal cartoon series like Adventure Time to notable platformers like Castle Crashers. When you first encounter the trailer, you will undoubtedly notice the resemblance to those inspirations. The Adventure Pals pulls a lot of its appeal from it’s adorably designed characters. You’ll see, even without having played the game, how they’re quite intriguing on their own. They really reel you in with interesting character design and a bizarre premise — which is very reflective of what the game was inspired by.

Yes, that is your dad…

That’s prevalent with the beginning of the game. The whole setting takes place on your birthday, starting with your gift from your dad: a pet giraffe. This is Sparkles, your new loyal friend who is both rideable and able to fit inside your backpack, where he’ll be able to use his tongue to fly like a helicopter or assist with swimming. As soon as you’re introduced to your new pal, your father is kidnapped by a robotic bee riding Mr. B, an arch-nemesis with a goldfish bowl for a hat. His evil plan? Beginning with your father, he’s here to turn people into… human-sized hot dogs. Now it’s time for you, Sparkles the giraffe, and your best friend Mr. Rock to hunt him down and save the day.

Okay, here’s how this works

The gameplay for The Adventure Pals combines two portions, exploring the world on the back of your giraffe and completing stages to get hold of rubies to advance the plot. Beginning in your hometown of Treevale, each region has a town where the locals will hand out quests in return for a prize. This will reveal locations on the map to find, which is where the platforming begins.

You’ll find yourself battling against zombie pirate cats, post-apocalyptic dinosaurs, and hot dogs that poop explosive mines. Each quest has five stages to complete, each with monsters to defeat, puzzles to solve, and spikes to avoid. You’ll use your sword to cut through your enemies and use Sparkles to get around. Heavily influenced by Banjo-Kazooie, your pet giraffe will help you glide over dangers and maneuver you to safety. After completing five stages, you’ll leave with a ruby and whatever items required to complete the quest.

You’ll gain experience with each monster you defeat, allowing you to choose between a series of rewards, allowing Mr. Rock to be able to join you in combat and bring you supplies. You’ll also be able to enhance a lot of your abilities as you progress through the game.

Each area has a boss battle, usually oversized monsters your nemesis will put you against to try to halt you thwarting his plan. Imagine fighting giant tree monsters, escape approaching vegetable monsters, or battling against an aggressive breakfast combination. Yes, this game gets weird.

We helped a whale along the way!

They bring in the peculiar to little cute details in the game — from customizable costumes you obtain by feeding cupcakes to the Cupcake God, to collectible stickers hidden in some of the most horrendous hidden areas in the game. The Adventure Pals will smack you in the face with oddity and ambiguity with no clear grips to a particular plot. It’s fine and all but sometimes, you’ll feel a bit lost playing the game. You start questioning the relevance of each element and ask why things are so. It gets to a point where there aren’t many answers to those questions.

Leez, Richard, two giraffes, two rocks

Not what either of us expected could fly as a section of its own, but now that we’ve got our hands dirty explaining this quirky game, it’s time to bring out our personal experiences and takes on the game. This section is in no way a euphemism — don’t your minds dare go there. Don’t you guys dare!

Anyways, Richard was Player 1 and I was Player 2. As much as platformers enjoy integrating cooperative mode, The Adventure Pals slaps it on without dabbling into altering the game in any way. Despite playing with a fabulous unicorn giraffe, playing Player 2 was a pain because not only could I not converse with anyone in the game, but also, my character had zero relevance to the story. Player 2 doesn’t get to level up and the stages don’t show any need for any sort of cooperation.

Here, Richard is laughing as I am about to fall into spikes

The mode really feels like an afterthought, especially with how clunky it feels sharing a screen with the other player. If either of us got left behind or decided to go the other way, the game would decide who would be teleported to the other player. More often than not, it would choose the wrong person. This was a nightmare for finding secrets. And if you’ve jumped through a challenging section full of spikes and spinning axes, there’s a chance you’ll be teleported back to the other person after completing it.

Some pitfalls along the way

While there are interesting personalities and creative characters in the towns to talk to, the enemies you fight through while on a quest tend to be repetitive. The further you progress through the game, the more familiar enemies you’ll find. With the setting and color scheme of each region blending together, completing each stage started feeling like a chore for us. The game would throw new things at you as you progress, but the experience lingered into the monotonous.

You can collect stickers!

On release, this game has proven to be pretty buggy. We often found ourselves forced to restart a stage after locks wouldn’t open pathways as intended and sometimes I would find myself surviving a fall into a pit of spikes far too often by landing on the edge. If Richard fell to his death, we would both be trapped in the pit without a way to progress.

What was fun for a short period of time…

We were trapped here for a while…

What was fun was seeing me die — a lot. Richard swears at the hilarious ridiculousness of how often I’d die. And strangely, that’s not all. Yes, boys and girls, I am a certified idiot because there have been many cases where I’d mistake my character for Richard’s. Exhibit A: We had been exploring one of the maps and had been strolling around looking for cupcakes. I then see Richard come across one without picking it up and instantly complain. He pauses the game and tells me that I’d been the one who did so. Unpause. Identity crisis, everyone. I am stupid. Hand me a cookie.

Is this your game match?

If you’re into challenging platformers, this one might bore you. The stages aren’t incredibly difficult but the game does grade you with the number of monsters you manage to kill, how many times you die in a stage, and how long you get from point A to point B. If you’re looking for a perfectly casual platformer that has adorable elements, you should give this one a try. Much of the charm of The Adventure Pals comes from its quirks. The entire design of the game is visually appealing and that’s essentially what caught both our attention when it was released.

The Adventure Pals is a good platformer to pass the time, collect the achievements in your own time, and play with your friends just to troll them with the glitches (we both did that too). The title has its loose ends, but you can have fun when playing in cooperative mode.

The Adventure Pals is available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4. It’s also available now on Steam for US$ 14.

SEE ALSO: Night in the Woods: Brilliant indie game you should try

SEE ALSO: 14 independent games are coming to the Nintendo Switch

Gaming

Special Edition Predator Helios 300 looks awesome in white

The gaming machine is a looker!

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Today, Acer announced a slew of new devices. From powerful gaming computers to updated notebooks, fans gathered as the tech brand unveiled products at the annual #NextAtAcer event in New York.

Out of all the gadgets and gizmos showcased, one thing caught everyone’s eye. This is the special edition Predator Helios 300.

It comes in a stunning all-white aluminum chassis with gold details — something you don’t see a lot of with gaming laptops.

Of course, it’s not all looks. Specs have been updated, too. It’s powered by the latest Core i7 processor with up to 16GB of RAM (expandable to 32GB) and 512GB SSD storage.

This thing is also equipped with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card and a 15.6-inch display with a refresh rate of 144Hz. Other than those changes, it’s still the same powerful machine released last year.

Regional pricing is yet to be announced for this bad baby. In the meantime, let’s just ogle at this beautiful, clean, and crisp-looking exterior.

As if it doesn’t get any better, Acer also unveiled matching white accessories.

A gaming mouse and headphones to match the whole mood.

Just look at that. I can’t stop staring, and I’m sure you feel the same way.

This is definitely this year’s best-looking gaming device so far. Take my money, Acer!

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Gaming

Acer Predator Helios 500 can overclock its Core i9 and GTX 1070 chips

Predator Helios 300 Special Edition gets launched as well

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Acer is well known for unleashing some of the most unreal gaming notebooks we’ve ever seen. And while it’s difficult to top the Predator Triton 700 and 21 X, the company is certainly continuing to turn heads with its newest Helios lineup.

First up is the Predator Helios 500, which is a follow-up to the Helios 300 we saw launched around this time last year. Acer is calling this new model “exceptionally powerful” and I can’t argue with that.

Both its Intel Core i9 and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 chips are overclockable. They’re already fast on stock speeds, so being able to go past their limits is something mobile gamers will wholeheartedly enjoy. On top of that, the Helios 500 can be fitted with Intel’s Optane memory, providing users with the shortest of load times. If that’s not enough, up to 64GB of RAM can be installed, too.

To make the most of the high-end components, the 17.3-inch IPS LCD (available in UHD or Full HD) can manage a 144Hz refresh rate along with NVIDIA’s G-Sync tech to prevent annoying instances of stuttering and tearing during intense gameplay. And so that things stay cool, the brand’s signature AeroBlade 3D metal fans are once again employed.

Since this is a gaming machine, you get the usual gamer essentials, including a backlit RGB keyboard and host of ports such as Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 2.0.

Interested? The Helios 500 will go for US$ 1,999 in North America starting June, EUR 1,999 in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa) beginning this month, and CNY 15,999 in China in June. Specific configurations depend per region.

Going back to the Helios 300 mentioned earlier, there’s now a Special Edition of the year-old gaming laptop. What’s different this time is the all-white aluminum chassis with gold trim — quite a unique design choice that stands out in the sea of black gaming notebooks.

It also comes with updated specs, namely an 8th-generation Core i7 processor coupled with up to 16GB of RAM (which you could still push to 32GB), 512GB SSD, Intel Optane memory, and a GTX 1060. The display is slightly smaller than its larger counterpart at 15.6 inches, but the Full HD IPS panel can handle a refresh rate of 144Hz, as well. Two AeroBlade fans are inside to keep everything in order.

The Helios 300’s regional pricing and availability will be disclosed soon.

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Gaming

Acer launches affordable but fast Nitro 50 gaming desktop

Also launches complementary Nitro monitors

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Much like smartphone aficionados, gamers require a plethora of flexible options to get their optimal gaming fix. There is no catch-all model for everyone. As such, gaming PC makers do better when they launch more models catered for different types of gamers.

With this in mind, Acer is launching another expansion to its specialized Nitro family. Catered more for gamers with a budget, the Nitro lineup touts amazing specs with competitive pricing.

The new addition, called the Nitro 50, infuses the lineup with a dose of high octane. The new desktop PC packs in the industry’s up-to-date specs into one convenient package. Speaking of package, the Nitro 50 struts and shines with armor-inspired housing fronted with edgy red lighting.

Tailored for power, the Nitro 50 runs on 8th-gen Intel Core i7 processors. Further, the PC comes with variants running up to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 video cards.

Additionally, the Nitro 50 blazes through every single storage issue that gamers face today. It sports up to 3TB of HDD storage and 512GB of SSD storage. The package also comes with a built-in Qi wireless charging deck.

Regardless of whether it’s online play or streaming, the PC sports a Realtek Dragon LAN card which optimizes network speeds for every use.

Nitro RG0

To complement the Nitro 50’s capabilities, Acer is also launching new Nitro VG0 and RG0 monitors. Both monitors have garnered recognition at the 2018 Red Dot Design Awards. Offering up to 27-inch variants, both the VG0 and RG0 series tailor fit usage according to every possible game configuration.

Both the Nitro 50 desktop and VG0/RG0 monitors will launch according to region. The Nitro 50 gaming desktop retails for US$ 799 and will launch between May and July. The Nitro VG0 monitors start at US$ 129 and will launch between May and June. Finally, the Nitro RG0 monitors sell for US$ 169 and will launch between May and July.

SEE ALSO: Acer Avengers Edition Laptops Unboxing

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