Coming out of the left field, Marsupilami Hoobadventure is a platformer that wears its inspirations on its sleeve, but manages to create a clever twist of genre-defined mechanics that sets it apart. With a beautiful, colorful world and tight controls that help you maintain control of the crazy marsupilamis from platform to platform, there’s a lot to enjoy in this adventure.
The story behind the game is that the marsupilamis accidentally release a ghost that they found on the beach, which as expected, causes havoc. The goal is to defeat and capture the ghost and save their island paradise. Marsupilami Hoobadventure’s story is not a very diverse or engaging one, but it is just enough to give you a purpose to move from level to level and inevitably to the boss fights.
You are right to question what a marsupilami is, as the character originates from a French comic in the nineteen-fifties. It went on to star in its own comic series, inspiring an appearance in a Disney TV show from the nineties, a movie, and this video game. With such a long-standing history, it’s a wonder how it is not a household name, but what’s more important is how well it translates to a video game.
Whether you pick to play as three marsupilamis — Punch, Twister, or Hope — they can all roll, vault, and jump or double jump over the environments with ease. You can run too, but it’s a heck of a lot more fun to continuously roll from one obstacle to the next. Not only do you get a speed boost this way, but you can roll right off a platform and carry on with a double jump over pits or enemies. Wall-jumping and sliding are also welcome mechanics, and punching and a mid-air stomp move do well to help you easily dispatch adversaries.
Additional traversal in the bright, cheery world of Marsupilami Hoobadventure is done by swinging and launching mechanics. Instead of vines and barrels, the marsupilamis fly around in style by using their tails to attach to grapple points and hopping into birds’ mouths to have them spit you out, flinging you across the levels. It’s manic and fun and adds that final punch to the gameplay to keep everything fluid and tight.
Each level is expertly crafted and not only as an engaging way to move your character through it but they are designed for quick movement, too. There are plenty of collectibles available, both secret and in the open, like the collectible fruits which net you an extra life after collecting 100 of them. Behind the challenge in each level, there are hidden doors and out-of-reach feathers to collect, which unlock bonus levels or challenges on the map screen.
Built into the game is the ability to immediately jump back into the same level you just beat and try to beat it again, but this time as fast as possible in Time Trials. There are additional rewards for completing the levels at certain times, and I feel this is the best way to enjoy the design as you’ll find shortcuts that you might miss while just exploring at a normal pace.
While the original release of Marsupilami Hoobadventure contained only 28 levels, the new expansion The Hidden World adds an additional ten levels, adding more area to explore. Swapping birds and mammals for dinosaurs, there are a lot of new obstacles and a volcano that is constantly spewing lava rock down on you exceeds the difficulty of the original game. Cataclysm mode then makes the game even tougher, while may be just the challenge that most veterans are looking for to keep the game fresh and fun.
Marsupilami Hoobadventure is not a difficult game at its core, but there’s something undeniable about the fun to be had here. The tight controls make the game insanely fun, and this may be one of the few times I’ve seen a homage to a Nintendo game that plays just as well as its inspiration.
With only three (or four if you include the DLC) areas to beat in the game, you’ll likely find yourself wrapping up the game in three or four hours, but the additional content for the adventurous may keep the fun going even longer. It never feels like it overstays its welcome with new ideas that pop up every level or two and ultimately, we’re left with a new mascot platformer added to the pile of the very greats and in some ways, it may even exceed that competition.