So me reviewing Paw Patrol started as a big of a joke on Reddit:
First, let me apologize to you u/
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,
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.
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
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?
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.
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