Review: Fancy Pants

If the name “Fancy Pants” sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It references a wildly popular Flash game that’s leapt onto an iOS device near you. Fancy Pants is a capable, fluid, and humorous platformer that does the “doodle” art style proud.

Our hero Fancy Pants is on a mission: his little sister has been kidnapped by a band of dim-witted pirates, and he’s got to go save her. The quest to recover Little Sis presents an exorbitant number of challenges along the way, in the form of puzzles, mini-challenges, collectibles, and the occasional difficult-to-stick jump.

Fancy Pants is a platformer at heart that wholeheartedly embraces its roots and dresses them with the modern sensibilities one would find in independent studio darlings elsewhere. Rather than simply running from side to side, Fancy Pants glides effortlessly from point A to point B. Jumping, sliding, bounding into enemies, and climbing are natural extensions and movements that build on Pants’ momentum, resulting in slick, beautifully-executed jumps and leaps of faith. Touch controls located on both sides of the screen (up and down, left and right) feel just as comfortable as playing with a controller would.

Through gnarled forests, underwater utopias, intimidating mountain ranges, and even deserts you’ll wall-run, jump, and otherwise blow through each environment on your way to victory, collecting items and uncovering side quests along the way.

There’s so much to do, in fact, that it becomes a fault with the game itself: you can fly through each level and complete the game, never stopping to examine all the other challenges and side-quests available. The game plays out in such a way that it almost encourages you to engage in a speed-run, and when there’s so much to offer it seems a shame to encourage players to rush past it.

But when you stop to smell the roses, you’ll find plenty of challenge rooms, doodads to collect, and reasons to keep coming back. It calls to mind the several stick-person animations littered across YouTube: you constantly marvel during the entire clip at how smooth, realistic, and fluid the movements are. Fancy Pants is the same, except it’s interactive, making it that much more impressive.

The game’s eight levels fly by far too quickly, but there’s plenty to keep coming back for, especially if you’re in the market for a challenging platformer that stays true to its roots. And it doesn’t hurt that the game doesn’t rely on graphical gimmickry to excel in what it does.

Fancy Pants is an excellent choice for those looking for a colorful, frenetic adventure, and we’d love to see more of it in the near future.

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