That’s right, folks! A Snoopy game was released this week from Activision and 20th Century Fox to coincide with today’s release of The Peanuts Movie. As the hype-train otherwise known as the film pulls into the station today, a collective shrug can be felt throughout the world about the release of its game.
Yes, this game about Snoopy was released without about as little fanfare imaginable. In fact, the only people who gave less of a shit about this game’s release than the general public was Activision itself. The marketing for it is so terrible that not only was there nary a mention of Snoopy’s Grand Adventure on any of the gaming sites, Activision didn’t even bother creating a website for the game itself. In fact, there’s only a brief mention on the publisher’s website with a link to purchase the game. That’s it.
So with absolutely no one giving a damn about this game, it naturally must be pretty terrible, right? Well, surprisingly, no. Then again, the game isn’t particularly great either, especially for a $39.99 MSRP. The game just sort of exists as a serviceable 2D side-scrolling adventure.
As far as the story goes, it’s about as paper-thin a plot as you can even imagine. Seriously, I’ve seen more depth from Kristen Stewart’s facial acting than I ever saw in the story of this game. It starts off with Charlie Brown walking outside to meet his friends for a game of hide-and-seek. From there, Snoopy wakes up, whereupon he and Woodstock find jellybeans on the ground. That is literally the entire premise of the game, and no, I’m not oversimplifying it.
The game itself consists of six different levels, each taking place in a different locale within Charlie Brown’s backyard and Snoopy’s imagination, from the Peppermint Jungle to the Temple of Bunnies to even the skies of Paris, where you fly atop Snoopy’s red doghouse to take on the Red Baron. Each of the different worlds attempts to add the personalities of each of the Peanuts gang, yet they end up feeling like just re-skinned versions of the same levels with slightly varied mechanics. As a result, the game begins to feel slightly redundant after the second world.
Graphically, Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is beautiful, looking as if the art were directly lifted out of the film and placed into the game. However, there does appear to a huge issue with the frame rate constantly dropping and stuttering throughout the entire journey. I’ve even noticed the dips becoming more frequent toward the latter part of the game, often making it difficult to navigate Snoopy. This problem is particularly noticeable on the Xbox One.
What’s nice about this game is that each world ends with a unique boss battle, each resembling either a physical characteristic or some sort of personality trait of each of the children. You can see these traits on some of the various enemies throughout the game as well. While the boss battles are relatively easy and require little to no effort on your part to complete, they are a nice break from the redundant platforming.
Snoopy’s Grand Adventure also features a small local multiplayer element to the game, similar to that of Sonic and Tails in Sonic the Hedgehog 2—one player is in control of Snoopy while the other gets “control” of Woodstock. I refer to this as sibling mode: while the player who gets to control Snoopy is actually able to play the game, the one in charge of Woodstock merely flies around aimlessly, stunning enemies and activating switches that act as shortcuts and allow the player to feel a faux sense of accomplishment.
As for collectibles, the game attempts to half-ass it. Sure, each level has a total of 300 jellybeans to collect and a total of six Beagle Scouts, but none of that really matters—it doesn’t amount to anything, as there are no rewards for doing so. The only reward for collecting everything is for a Gold Trophy, or a 70 Gamer Point Achievement, and that’s merely for trophy hunters like myself. Instead, the only real collectibles are the outfits, which you will likely just find as you play. Each outfit has its own benefits and drawbacks and is required for you to revisit earlier levels to unlock all of their secrets.
In conclusion, Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is anything but grand. While the game took me nearly two hours to complete, and another two hours to replay and receive the platinum trophy, the lack of playtime required to see and do everything in the game hardly justifies a $39.99 price point. Since Activision never bothered giving a shit about this game, neither should you . . . at least, not until it hits the bargain bin, which will inevitably be sooner than later.
(And if all of this has you feeling nostalgic for the Peanuts of yore, check out Mark’s look back at what makes the series so enduring.)