Who among us isn’t a fan of the amazingly well-known films about Tad the Lost Explorer? What do you mean you’ve never heard of him? Well, you wouldn’t be the only one. Apparently, Tad the Lost Explorer is a very popular cartoon, especially in Spain, and has spawned 3 feature films.
The titular character Tad is a hapless, bumbling adventurer who has aspirations to become like Indiana Jones but acts more like Mr. Bean. He gets into various scrapes and mischief in his quests to find precious artefacts and along with his friends travel the world in search of adventure.
As you would expect this game is more aimed towards children who would be the target demographic for the cartoon franchise.
Choose your Adventure
So what kind of game is it? Tad the Lost Explorer is a 2.5D sidescrolling platformer, much in the style of Crash Bandicoot and others of that style. You are in control of Tad (sometimes his sidekicks) and are tasked to run and jump across various platforms and obstacles, picking up collectables and avoiding traps and enemies. In order to vanquish your foes, you use the age-old tried and tested method of throwing rubber chickens at them. Yeah. Really.
Despite the simplicity at the heart of the game, there is plenty of variety in the platforming sections and there is a different feel to the locations throughout. A nice touch is the different set pieces that take you away briefly from platforming. There are boss fights and vehicle sections which are a nice reprieve from the run/jump/collect levels.
As I mentioned earlier, you get to change characters at certain points in the game. Each character has their own unique abilities such as stealth, double jump etc. Apart from these little tweaks, they all handle pretty similarly.
A Tad Annoying
Speaking of handling, this is the first of my gripes with the game. In order for a platformer to be enjoyable, the bare minimum you would expect is for the jumping mechanic to be tight. Sadly, this game suffers from floaty jump syndrome. The jumping doesn’t feel right and it can be tough to gauge the distances. It’s not so bad that it’s a deal-breaker, but it can be exceptionally frustrating. It is exacerbated by the fact that the game has a one-hit kill mechanic.
Even though the frustration is real, there is not a real sense of peril when you face these problems. This is due to the fact that the checkpoints are very frequent, meaning that when you die (and you will die), it isn’t much of a hindrance. When you respawn, you are only fractionally moved back from where you met your demise.
Lost in Translation
Tad the Lost Explorer is not aimed towards the seasoned gamer. It is a game aimed primarily towards children. That means that the game isn’t much of a challenge outside of the control issues. The puzzles aren’t exactly taxing and manage to avoid being annoying for the most part. The graphics are fine and are faithful to the source material. It’s vibrant and colourful and looks good. It isn’t perfect and the Switch suffers sometimes from slowdown very occasionally, and the loading times are a little excessive but it’s graphically more than acceptable.
The story is driven through a mix of cut scenes and dialogue pop-ups. The story can sometimes make no sense. This could be due to the fact that I am not familiar with the films but sometimes it isn’t clear of the motivations of the characters. But to be fair, if you are expecting award-winning story-telling from a game based on a Spanish cartoon, that’s on you.
Is it a treasure?
Did I enjoy this game? Probably not. Is this a bad game? Definitely not. It is a capable platformer that is aimed towards a younger audience. It will keep them amused even if they aren’t fans of the franchise. If they are fans of the films, they will love it.