Paw Patrol: On a Roll Review – I’m fired up!

paw patrol on a roll

So me reviewing Paw Patrol started as a big of a joke on Reddit:

First, let me apologize to you u/zenexo. I feel like my response was at least partially responsible for getting you buried in downvotes (he was upvoted before I commented). But after I posted the comment and planned to forget about it, a couple of people replied saying a review of Paw Patrol would be helpful to them. Well, here we go.

paw patrol
The closest this game comes to resembling the TV show. Still, it’ll make the fans happy.

It’s Paw Patrol—Sort Of

The game starts off like the Paw Patrol your kids know and love. The pups go up the elevator in the lookout and listen to Ryder describe the mission. Farmer Yumi reported some ducks fell into a hole. For some reason, we need to go through the corn maze instead of going around it. Typical kids cartoons, but at least the waste of time is faithfully represented here. Ryder calls on Chase, Marshal, Rubble, and Skye to help out on the first mission. But the pups don’t talk, not even their signature lines. And I feel like by not including pup voices, the game just doesn’t quite stack up to an episode of the show.

Sound and Music

Ryder’s voice is always around, reminding you to pick up pup treats and golden pawprints, as well as advising you on how to use each pup’s abilities (Chase can shoot a net while Marshall can float). In fact, I found his constant reminders to pick up pup treats a little annoying, but when my kids were Paw Patrol age they were watching the same three episodes over and over again, so I’m sure this wouldn’t bother a small child. The music is different but similar to the TV show, suggesting that either they couldn’t license the TV tracks or it was significantly cheaper to just do a mediocre cover instead.

It also seems that a PC release was an after thought, because any time Ryder tells me to move my pup, he references the “left stick.” And the on-screen display is a console controller with the PC arrow keys highlighted where the left stick should be. Weird.

paw patrol
Ryder: Great job! You collected another pup treat!

Graphics

And while on the topic of things being significantly cheaper, most of the pups have the same animations, save for their signature abilities. Each model runs and jumps the same. This is where I started to get annoyed, because you can tell the developers cut a lot of corners. And when you start to see this many corners being cut, on what is in Canada a $40 game, red flags start showing up.

The levels look fine. There are sixteen missions and eight different maps to play on, two missions per map. And while these contain locations from the show, such as Farmer Yumi’s barn in the first level, most of the levels are just generic assets with little to no life. I walked through no less than three barns in the first two missions and jumped over hundreds of bales of hay. Each one was a copy of a handful of bale of hay models in the game, many times lazily stacked upon one another. Because kids won’t really notice or care, right?

Each level has you gathering collectibles.

Gameplay & Controls

When you’re making a game for pre-readers, the gameplay and controls need to be perfect. And I have to say developer Torus Games has nailed the controls. The gameplay? Well, Torus Games kind of nailed Paw Patrol’s gameplay as well, but within a small window.

For a child who does not yet play video games regularly, and for whom Paw Patrol: On a Roll might be their first video game experience, it’s perfect. For a child who has played games with an older sibling, or started young because his or her parents play games as a hobby, Paw Patrol: On a Roll might not offer enough gameplay depth to keep kids interested. My four-year-old can’t play because he’s been gaming since he was three and plays games like Fortnite and Spider-man.

But if you have a pre-reader at home who isn’t playing a lot of games and loves Paw Patrol, the gameplay and controls in Paw Patrol: On a Roll are perfect for them.

Which ability should you use to cross the bridge? Very Dora the Explorer-esque.

Conclusion

If your child fits into the very narrow niche Paw Patrol: On a Roll is aimed at, they will enjoy this game. To recap, that niche is a non-gamer child who cannot yet read and has not played many, if any, video games, and who loves Paw Patrol enough to look past the game’s shortcomings.

One of the most significant shortcomings that I only touched on briefly is the price. Paw Patrol: On a Roll is a $40 game in Canada (a little less on Steam). $40 for unlicensed music, no pup voices, shared animations, and only a handful of controls. You could play this game on an NES controller and still not use every button.

I can really only recommend Paw Patrol: On a Roll to the above-mentioned specific niche of players.

Value: ~$4/hour (read more though)

I use the value system instead of a number rating, rating a game by the cost of a game divided by how many hours of enjoyment one could reasonably expect. At 10 minutes per mission, and sixteen missions, an adult could finish the game in a little over two hours. But smaller children might take longer, and might play a mission several times before getting bored. That number could be anywhere from three to ten, so I’ll settle on five plays of any mission. For a total of about ten hours of gameplay, which still seems on the stingy side for a 3-year-old with nothing else to play, the value comes out at $4/hour. For reference, that’s the same value I assigned Spider-man, and I loved that game. Paw Patrol: On a Roll has enough for its specific market, but not enough for anyone else.

About Jess Edwards 34 Articles
Jess Edwards is a writer from Toronto, Canada. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing and loves video games, so it made sense for him to start writing about video games. His two kids are his inspiration and rediscovering his lifetime hobby through the eyes of his children inspired him to build a site for other parents.

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