Kids of every age seem to be into video games. After all, they can deliver fun adventures, teach hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills, and even offer up good lessons if gamemakers have the foresight to include them. But of all the many eager button-mashers out there, there’s one crowd that tends to do more watching from the sidelines than anything else: the preschooler.
Well, the gaming crew behind PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay wants to offer a solution for those young wannabe gamer’s grumblings. So, let’s see what their new title has tucked beneath its doggy collar.
First of all, Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay is inspired by the Nick Jr. kids series PAW Patrol. There are numerous seasons of the show and even a kid’s movie to be found, and they all focus on a squad of little dogs that don human caps and specialized backpacks, then scamper about saving people and places from danger. These doggy do-gooders are sent on missions by their 10-year-old human leader, Ryder, and they take on service-provider skills for specific challenges.
Rubble, for instance, is a tough little bulldog who carries a mechanized drill in his “pup pack” that can break up any rocks or, well, rubble that might endanger folks. Another pup named Marshall is a fireman-like fido whose water cannon can deal with overheated hazards. Chase is a police-dog sort who is great at sniffing out clues and leading citizens to safety in an emergency. And the list of furry heroes stretches on from there, each with talents in everything from trash collecting to rocket-pack air rescues.
The game, however, adds even more to these potent pooches’ save-the-day skills. A mysterious meteor crashes down on the beach of the nearby Adventure Bay. But when the pups go to clean up the fallen space rock, its glowing radiation imbues them with super-duper superpowers. And just like that, our courageous canine heroes can fulfill quests with everything from super strength to Green Lantern-like giant tools.
The game missions themselves include helping to fix up a ski resort after a heavy storm; rescuing an explorer friend from jungle tangles; saving a monkey family from a volcanic spill; sparing Adventure Bay from the wrath of a rampaging robot; and escapades like those. Just like the show it’s based on, there are no battles here or great perils to worry over. Instead the pups just use their skills to rescue and repair.
These simple gaming challenges involve navigating a given location; finding collectables; solving some simple rhythm-based mini-games; and figuring out where and when you should jump to grab hidden bonuses. And even when youngsters are tasked with dodging something like a falling bolder or an obstacle in the road, it’s always staged so there’s plenty of “need to move to this side” notice and no great penalty if you fail.
Ryder regularly check in on the pups’ progress, too. He’ll offers up help when needed and cheers of encouragement such as, “Pawsome” or “Amazing. You’re doing great!” when things are worth a hearty tail-wag.
Little gamers can play with siblings, pals or Mom and Dad as well. There are always two canine heroes on each quest, and they can be played co-op or by switching back and forth as a single player.
On top of all that, the gamemakers seem to have taken physicians’ screentime warnings for youngsters into account here. The World Health Organization has suggested that long stretches of screentime for youngsters is something to avoid. And each of this game’s missions are separate, self-contained and kept very short. Young gamers can easily play for 10 minutes and toddle off to brush their teeth with a victory and a sense of accomplishment.
So, if you’re in the market for a game for the kiddos in your family, PAW Patrol: Mighty Pups Save Adventure Bay could be for you and your family. You’ll encounter fun, simple adventure with nary a nasty tick or flea to be found anywhere. Hey, your little gamers may even walk away with an increased desire to praise and pet their own Fido for the good job he’s doing.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.