By: Quinn Potter
This review is coming from Sonoma County, California, home of the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Snoopy’s Home Ice (The Redwood Empire Ice Area), where the cartoonist played hockey when he was alive. It’s hard to live here and not be an admirer of Peanuts, Snoopy, or Schulz. Peanuts is an internationally recognized brand and it has been a joy to see the recent movie bring back some well-loved characters.
The big question, of course, is whether or not The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure can keep another generation of budding Peanuts fans happy and entertained for a few hours of G-rated fun. Activision has done a nice job of crafting a family-friendly game to build off the momentum of the movie. Old timers will enjoy seeing some familiar faces while the youngest of gamers will get a kick out of playing as Snoopy or his ever-faithful sidekick Woodstock.
Controls are well placed and are easy for a novice to pick up. In normal Snoopy mood, use your left stick to move and (A) to jump, hold (A) to double-jump. Controls can’t be remapped.
There are some cute alter egos of Snoopy to choose from – become a boxer, a Flying Ace, a Cub Scout leader, Joe Cool, an astronaut, or a detective. Each variation of Snoopy has its own special power, though there’s no list of special skills associated with each persona, which would’ve been helpful.
Graphics are strong– sharp, detailed, elegant, professional, funny – just what you’d except from a major studio with the push of a mainstream movie release and a long-loved cartoon character at the helm. The backdrops aren’t as richly layered as some other games, but this is a game for younger players who will be focused on the main characters.
Settings change with each level. The moon, the jungle, a desert, the skies of Paris, the Parisian underground, and an elaborate French villa are all beautifully rendered in appealing, kid-friendly colors that pop with joy.
Yes, the famous Peanuts theme music makes an appearance. Yes, it’s really well-done. The soundtrack and voice talent are also strengths for the game. The voice talent from the Peanuts movie is present here, so the voices and narration sound true to the “original” voice of Charlie Brown and his gang.
Charlie Brown and his gang were having a party when good old Chuck spilled the (jelly) beans. The kids all separated and it’s up to Snoopy to save the day as he follows the trail of jelly beans to find each Peanuts character.
As Snoopy passes certain spots in each level of the game, a chest appears with a symbol and you’ll have the option of switching into one of his alter-egos. Switch as many times as you need to use your special skills and continue following the trail.
Each character will have a different area of play. For example, Peppermint Patty has a Peppermint Jungle and Linus frolics in the Temple of the Bunnies. Lucy, Franklin, Pigpen and Schroeder also have unique landscapes to explore.
After each character’s area, Snoopy faces an easy boss battle and moves on. At the end of the game, there’s a cut scene where Charlie Brown pops out and tells Snoopy he’s found everyone. In a sweet touch, the little red-haired girl appears, too (sigh).
The great graphics, smooth voice talent, professional soundtrack and entertaining alter-egos (plus cool special talents) all come together for a nice bit of gameplay. There are no AI helpers, but a real-life team can play as Snoopy and Woodstock to navigate the levels together.
Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is a fun little side-scrolling platformer that’s well-done and hits all the right notes for nostalgia buffs who grew up loving Snoopy. It will keep younger gamers busy for 3-4 hours on a winter’s afternoon.