After their surprisingly excellent The Smurfs – Mission Vileaf, Microids is back with another family-friendly platformer in Marsupilami: Hoobadventure, developed by Ocellus Studio and out now for PCs and consoles. We tested the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
The Marsupilami character itself has been around since the 1950s, and its popularity has enjoyed quite a bit of ebb and flow over the years, soaring with an animated series in the early 1990s and having recently been relaunched as a computer-generated animation series. Marsupilami: Hoobadventure returns the franchise to videogames, after an initial appearance on the SEGA Genesis/Mega Drive.
Marsupilami: Hoobadventure features little in the way of a narrative beyond an intro sequence where we’re introduced to a supernatural skeleton that turns all the animals in the world (except for the Marsipulami) into slaves that do his bidding, which serves as little more than a premise for why you’re heading out and not everyone is friendly to you.
That’s okay though, because the gameplay that follows is a really good example of classic 2D platforming in the Rayman/Donkey Kong Country vein, with about two dozen levels spread across three different environments – all of which have unlockable bonus levels as well. The exception is the game’s boss confrontations, but most levels are worth replaying just for the chance to unlock the game’s extra content.
In Marsupilami: Hoobadventure you can select three different Marsupilamis as your character, but they don’t play any differently so you’re mostly just going off of what your preferred look is. All characters can jump, roll, attack with a pounce move and use their long tails to grab stuff. The controls are responsive and traversal in the game is a lot of fun, as the game can be played while taking it slow but also lets you get into a rhythm and fly, roll and bounce through if you’re comfortable enough.
The natural learning curve for the controls also plays well into the option to replay levels to get unlockable and earn (time trial) medals, and good level design makes this extra enjoyable. It’s welcoming with just the right amount of challenge, and there’s plenty to find in the way of secrets. You’ll also find that there’s plenty of diversity here, with unique characteristics to levels and differences in their layouts that make sure the game doesn’t feel repetitive at any point.
Although you can find a challenge in the speedrunning aspects of the game, it’s clear that Marsupilami: Hoobadventure’s main audience is younger players, as the game is generous with its lives and it’s easy to pick up additional lives by collecting (the plentiful) fruit. This is especially easy to do in bonus levels, as they’re packed to the brim with the fruit that gets you extra lives. The final boss fight can be tricky and frustrating for younger players, but they’ll have gotten a good deal of fun gameplay time out of it by then. For older players, the game is over in about four hours – which happened to us in part because we were already grabbing most of the collectibles on our first playthrough. Because of that, this is short game, but one we expect younger gamers to get a lot more mileage out of. Another solid family-friendly platformer for Microids then, which is giving players a lot of options this holiday season.