When the world lost comic strip legend Charles M. Schulz back in 2000 it didn’t necessarily mean the end of Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. There might not be any new comics and instead Schulz’s iconic series has been syndicated with classic strips appearing just as they did in the past but what is new is that fifteen years after his passing fans are finally getting a new movie although Charlie Brown and the gang are moving into new territory with computer animation. This also means that a tie-in video game is in order.
The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure isn’t trying to adapt the storyline from the movie but instead is a separate story. Charlie Brown and his friends are missing . . . . well, they are in Snoopy’s imagination at least. Snoopy was travel to fantastic locations such as the jungle, Paris, and even alien worlds so that he can rescue Linus, Lucy, and the rest of the Peanuts gang as well as a few missing Beagle Scouts hidden in each of the worlds throughout the game.
Snoopy’s Grand Adventure is a game which is aimed at a younger audience which makes sense. Even though there are fans of all ages of Peanuts and many of the holiday specials have become classics that many adults still enjoy to this day, the movie itself as well as the accompanying game is something which is definitely geared more towards children. This isn’t necessarily something negative since quite often younger gamers are left out when it comes to the availability of titles they can play. My daughter for example really wants to play games despite her young age but in general most of the titles in my library are aimed at a more adult audience and can be too much for her not just with the overall themes but also the controls.
Snoopy’s Grand Adventure goes with a more simplified approach to the controls. This is a platformer which in general consists of the player running and jumping. There are “enemies” in the game all of which are themed to match the levels in which they are found but as the game instructs you in the beginning, you can either bypass them or jump on their heads but unlike Mario or other titles, this doesn’t kill them but instead merely incapacitates them for a brief period of time. It’s a very non-violent for of confrontation. Snoopy will also have the opportunity to collect jelly beans in the stages and generally there are 300 of them to be found.
Snoopy begins the game as your standard dog and by holding the jump button players can have him hover which can make it easier to reach some of the higher platforms in the game. However not all of these can be accessed with your average dog. Throughout the game Snoopy will run across keys which will unlock additional outfits and in the stages of the game you will see areas where he can change into the different costume. The game doesn’t allow you to select what you want but instead has the costumes predetermined for where they are most needed. Snoop will find a Beagle Scout costume which allows him to climb vines and also presents a compass to show players where other scouts are located, the Masked Marvel can smash his way through walls, by using the detective costume Snoopy can see hidden passages while his astronaut costume allows him to jump much higher than normal and enjoy the benefits of zero gravity. Of course Snoopy wouldn’t be the same without having a Joe Cool costume and by putting this one players will freeze enemies in their place and can double jump. There is also the World War I Flying Ace outfit to be unlocked but this is only used for the bonus level.
Snoopy’s Grand Adventure also provides players with a co-op mode although it’s slightly disappointing. The second player controls Woodstock but the only time it’s even necessary to use him is when you see yellow icons. Woodstock can then fly around them to activate nearby platforms or open doors to enter “secret” areas however these aren’t necessarily inaccessible. It merely provides players with quicker access and in reality it leaves the second player out of much of the action. If you have two controllers Woodstock can be used just as easily in single player mode.
The game isn’t trying to replicate the look of the Peanuts specials that we all know and love form the past but instead is more focused on trying to duplicate what is seen in the new computer animated film and it does a great job at duplicating it even though most of the Peanuts gang makes very limited appearances. The level designs, while straightforward, are done very well and don’t get visually cluttered. Younger games shouldn’t have much problem navigating through the game and will enjoy what it presents visually.
The Peanuts Movie: Snoopy’s Grand Adventure might not be the type of game which is going to appease fans of all ages but for younger games, it’s definitely something that they will enjoy. My daughter seemed to enjoy it quite a bit although at three she’s still quite the novice gamer and gives up after just a short amount of time because it’s still difficult for her. Older children however should have very little trouble and probably won’t require bothering their parents over and over again for help passing a level which will save a number of “good grief” moments.
Mike is the resident reviewer for Couponing to Disney and his own site Underland Online. He has a toddler daughter and is obsessed with Haunted Mansion and all things Disney. You can read Mike’s complete bio here.