We’re cruising the seas with good vibes in Treasure Adventure World.
There are very few games I would call ‘comfort food’ — games that, as soon as you start them up, make you feel instantly relaxed and right at home. Treasure Adventure World is gaming comfort food. It’s familiar, fun, and pleasant in all regards from beginning to end. As a game, it may not blow your mind and be a trendsetter. It does, however, master and define everything it sets out to accomplish. Treasure Adventure World does this and more, taking the development time it needs to accomplish it.
I first heard of the game back in 2014 when I was still doing YouTube and discovering the wide world of Indie games. Here we are finally in 2018 and the game has hit its full release. As you can imagine, I was more than excited to finally dive in and see what treasures waited for me. Needless to say, I was not disappointed. While I hate to put the cart before the horse, Treasure Adventure World is a title you should pick up. If you love adventure games, any of the Zelda games or puzzle/platformers, then you need this game and I highly recommend it. Treasure Adventure World has cemented itself as one of my favorite games of 2018 and the friggin’ year just started.
So, back to the horses.
A boy, a boat and parrot.
One of the themes of Treasure Adventure World is that this is an adventure. Duh, right? As soon as you leave what I call Tutorial Island, the pace and how you beat this game is almost completely up to you. There are obviously going to be certain areas that need certain items, but the way it is all weaved together is seamless. You are dropped into this massive beautiful island world with one instruction: Go explore, have fun. That is Treasure Adventure World in a nutshell.
The story itself is rather simple, but it does have its nuances. You play a typical amnesiac, silent protagonist, who was found on the beach barely clinging to life and missing a hand. One day you meet a talking parrot named Whydah who claims that there are twelve mystical treasures which, once collected, can restore your memories and grant you any wish. Then you are off on an adventure. It’s simple as that. While I don’t want to spoil the game’s story, needless to say you discover that there is more to the boy and these twelve treasures than meets the eye.
What I will say is that the entire game has a very upbeat tone. Then things get dark, very quickly, at the end. It was almost jarring. It didn’t throw off the tone of the game, but I was certainly expecting something more light and fluffy. Trust me when I say that the story is not what you think. The ending itself, though, is satisfying and leaves you with a sense of wanderlust and wanting more. I haven’t felt this kind of lust for adventure since I played Owlboy.
No hand-holding, literally and figuratively.
One thing I loved about Treasure Adventure World is that there is little to no hand-holding in this game. You find many quests that you may not have the tools to complete, but not to fear, as Treasure Adventure World has a very simple system to help nudge you in the right direction. Once you get your boat, you are introduced to Navpearls. These little gems and precious stones point out a point of interest or hidden entrance on the map. As you explore the many islands of Treasure Adventure World, you find these Navpearls by completing platforming challenges or certain puzzles. This then leads you to a dungeon where you may find useful tools and, of course, one of the legendary treasures.
It’s this formula that is super simple but works so well. You are rewarded for exploring every corner of the world. On top of that, there are all sorts of collectable treasures begging to be found. These can be turned in for many upgrades — to your equipment, health and even your home if you purchased one. There are also many, many side-quests that expand on the lore and people in the world. While the game isn’t Tolkien or R.R. Martin, the dialogue is sufficient: I had a fun time helping a couple get back together by breaking up a band and I got to help an old witch settle the spirits of the dead.
From a gameplay standpoint, Treasure Adventure World is simple. The primary thing that differentiates your character is his hook hand, with which you can latch onto walls and chains with ease. Aside from helping you climb, this is also your primary weapon. There are plenty of monsters and bosses in Treasure Adventure World and you have to whack ’em on occasion. Among many tools you can find such as a shovel, magic bottle, diving gear, hats, and ship upgrades, the magic bottle is perhaps my favorite item — it can store elements inside to solve a variety of puzzles. There was also a mushroom hat that regenerates your character and lets you hallucinate things into existence. It was groovy.
The puzzles/platforming aspects of this game are on point and never stray. There are very few games I have wanted to hundred percent, this is one of them. Nothing overstays its welcome and there is never a difficulty spike or the game become too easy. Many of the optional puzzles and platforming challenges will make you grit your teeth but are rewarding. There are only two moments that I can clearly remember getting frustrated and one of them was my fault. One was on a puzzle with switches and the other is the final boss fight which gives you two health bars to finish three phases.
The bosses themselves are very well designed but did sometimes fall into trial and error. Most bosses have a gimmick that you need to figure out to defeat them and it isn’t always obvious, then there are times it’s blindly obvious and too easy. Despite that, Treasure Adventure World is a delightfully balanced game. There is also a new game plus mode if you can’t get enough.
The art of Treasure Adventure World shines.
I wouldn’t really expect any less from games published by Chucklefish. Treasure Adventure World is gorgeous and very easy on the eyes. All of the areas have a unique design and keep things fresh as you progress through the game. One thing, though, is that there is a bit of backtracking. You might see the same areas multiple times even if they are all diverse, though this is made lighter work by a quick travel system you discover with your magic bottle, thankfully.
A day/night cycle with a weather system really enhances most of the visuals in the game and makes areas like the city rather cool to walk in. The only problem I found is that the weather is quick to change. Stay raining, dangit! And in any case, the character sprites themselves are nicely done. You can tell a lot of love went into the game’s overall design. It’s imaginative, but never strays into silly.
The music does a great job of supporting the visuals. Most of the tracks are fantastic and not once did I think about turning on my own tunes over the game’s. I did have some volume control issues when I plugged in some earbuds, but that could be just my PC.
Quality-of-life choices are the only thing that hold this game back.
When I say quality of life, it’s nothing that breaks the game. Matter of fact, I never ran into a single bug in Treasure Adventure World. It is little things like being unable to access the options menu from inside the game. Occasionally, the game would take an extremely long time to load from startup and sometimes between areas. I also highly recommend playing this game with a controller — while the keys are rebindable, it just doesn’t work the same.
Aside from that, I have no other complaints about Treasure Adventure World. You have plenty of replay value when it comes to the game itself, with an overall length of about twenty hours and you can stretch it a wee bit if you want to hundred-percent the game.
Now that we have the horse and cart out of the way, I need to reiterate that I recommend this game. It’s a great price and extremely well designed. Robit Games made a game they loved and you can feel that. Hopefully this isn’t the last we hear from this developer and it doesn’t take another four years for their next amazing title to materialize.