PAW Patrol: World Review

Although I’ve mostly been immune to it, myself, I know full well how big PAW Patrol has been. Since its inception, the cartoon featuring talking dogs who “save the day” has been a huge hit for its creator, and took the children’s television market by storm. This has led to it being a merchandising behemoth, and said merchandising has come in the form of video games.

That’s where my only real familiarity with this intellectual property comes from. You see, I’ve played all of the recent PAW Patrol games on Game Pass, and have completed each one leading up to the newest, which is simply titled PAW Patrol: World. As such, I’m able to compare them and provide a pretty detailed review of the pups’ latest foray into interactive gaming.

Outside of the kart racing one, the recent PAW Patrol games had been pretty formulaic. You’d talk to the child who leads and dispatches them, get a mission and then that level would load. Therein, you’d use each pup’s unique ability to fix different problems, right different wrongs and aid the people and animals nearby. Each pup would have its own ability, and the games would always tell you who to switch to for each situation. Then again, the icons were also colour coded.

Those games were really formulaic, and quite basic platformers as a result. You’d run and jump your way through each level, collecting dog treats and badges along the way, and would go marked areas to save the day in whichever way, be it helping an animal down from a tree, fixing a sign or what have you. There was never much in the way of variety, but then again those games were aimed at young kids just getting into gaming.

Outside of the main campaign, you’d have goals of collecting all pup treats and finding all three badges in each level, which added a bit to the experience. There were also levels where you’d ride in a vehicle and move sideways, in order to avoid obstacles in each lane and collect all of the treats flying by you.

Those who’ve played them will also know that there were minigames, which were basic and easy but fun.

This time, changes are evident from the beginning, resulting in a somewhat different game. PAW Patrol: World doesn’t act as a list of different stages, each with their own environmental motif and core mission. Instead, it presents you with four different, open world areas. There’s Adventure Bay, the jungle, the top of the local mountain and then a very wealthy and regal city nearby. The idea is that everything is contained in these open worlds, which you’re able to complete at your own speed. This includes story missions, of which there are ten per location, and random help wanted quests where you aid people (or animals) by finding things for them, watering plants, fixing their problems, etc. As such, the structure of the game is different from the get-go.

The story goes: Bad guy, Mayor Humdinger, is trying to throw a wrench into the pups’ goal of celebrating different seasons and holidays with a big festival in Adventure Bay. He’s enlisted the help of some devious kittens, and plans to host his own cat-themed festival. This would be fine and dandy, but the jerk has decided to take a blimp to Adventure Bay, the jungle, the mountain and the city, complete with a massive screen and heavy duty speakers. By doing this, he’s able to advertise his own festival in a loud and annoying fashion.

Another issue arises when the devious kittens steal the posters meant for Adventure Bay’s party. Getting those back then becomes a priority, and once one has done so they gain access to a special flashback mission celebrating that holiday or event. As such, the final one or two missions per area involve going up to Humdinger’s blimp and cutting its speaker chords, or something to that extent.

With all that having been said, the core gameplay still boils down to something similar. You see, while you’re helping people and completing missions in four different, open world style environments, you’re still needing to use each pup’s unique ability to do so. You’ll be able to switch between pups at will, though, and can also jump into their vehicles at any time. Thus, some of the mission objectives and forms of aid will require you to be on food, in order to use one special ability, or in a vehicle so that you can use the vehicle’s special ability. It’s still really straightforward, and basically tells you what to do. You basically just walk or drive up to a circle, press a button and the game does it for you, meaning there isn’t enough player control.

The developers have added things like split-screen play, emotes (which are sometimes needed to unlock aid quests, because the people want to see your silly dog face before they’ll talk to you) and a lot of unlockables in the form of stickers and costumes. You won’t have to collect all of the pup treats, but will earn these unlockables for getting a bunch. The meter fills fast, then goes back to zero and you start again.

Most of the unlockables have to do with costuming your pup in something like a pirate or baseball hat, or a clown wig. Then, there are others that apply themed stickers to your vehicles. Lastly, there are stickers for customizing the game’s collectible postcards, of which there are four or five per stage. You can add a monkey into the background of one, for instance. Thus, this is another collectathon in the PAW Patrol series of video games.

Of course, there are also side activities to take part in. For instance, you can nose a ball into soccer nets, play tetherball, watch your pup drive RC cars, go down a slide, open fire hydrants (for pup treats), bounce on things and interact with other objects. Furthermore, there are four badges for each pup, which you’ll earn an achievement or trophy for finding. They’re tougher to find than the ones in previous games, but not too bad so long as you put some effort into exploring off the beaten path. Hell, some are right there in plain sight.

I do miss the mini-games, though. This would’ve been a better release had it kept that idea and perhaps created some new ones. They added secondary content and variety, which was important. This time around, there’s not a lot of that to be found so they definitely would’ve helped.

With regards to the presentation, you can expect an average kids game. All characters — including NPCs — are voiced, but the main boss of the PAW Patrol can get a bit annoying at times. Meanwhile, the visuals offer a fully 3D world from the show, with decent character models, lots of colour and textures that are noticeably better than the previous times around. The only complaint I have is that the camera cannot be rotated by using the right joystick. You can’t move it at all, and it can be a hindrance from time to time.

Overall, PAW Patrol: World is a decent kids game, but not one of the best I’ve played. It’s quite simple, and doesn’t offer a lot of variety, nor does it have a great fun factor. When I saw that there’d be ‘open worlds’ and story missions, I was hoping for a game like Toy Story 3, but this one doesn’t compare. It’s just OK and that’s all, and despite its changes it’s only just a bit better than the previous games.

If you have a little munchkin who’s into PAW Patrol and is just getting into gaming, this wouldn’t be a bad start. They’d probably enjoy the light platforming, driving the vehicles around and the like. Just don’t expect the world from it.

This review is based on the Xbox Series S version of the game, which we were provided with.



PAW Patrol: World Review
Reader Rating0 Votes
The Good Stuff
Brings the popular children's show to life
Has forty short story quests, plus lots of people and animals to help out
Collectibles to find
You can use the pups or their vehicles
Split-screen play
The Not-So-Good Stuff
Same uninspired mission design as before
The player doesn't have enough control (when they're using pups' special abilities)
Basic and somewhat boring
No mini-games
Little variety