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Fancy Pants

For:   Also on: iPhoneiPad
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Not completely pants

Product: Fancy Pants | Developer: Over The Top Games | Publisher: Chillingo | Format: iPhone | Genre: Platform | Players: 1 | File size: 269MB | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
 
Fancy Pants iPhone, thumbnail 1
Platform games haven't really changed since they were first invented. You're still controlling a recognisable hero, still throwing them over obstacles in a bid to get from A to B as best you can.

What has changed is the atmosphere that surrounds the genre. Where once it was cartoon sprites and cheerily anthropomorphic creatures that liked to bounce around, now our platformers tell deep, involved stories about love and loss.

Or at least some of them do. Fancy Pants is a throwback to the time when brightly coloured trousers were enough to make a game character a superstar. It's a fast, irreverent, colourful romp that knows its limits and stays comfortably within them.

Fancy schmancy

Fancy Pants is a port of an Xbox Live and PSN title that started out life as a Flash game. You can see its roots shining through, too - especially with the combination of hand-drawn graphics and simple controls.

You lead Fancy Pants Man - a stick figure in baggy orange trousers - through a series of levels in an attempt to recapture his sister from a band of dimwitted pirates. On-screen buttons control the flips and bounds that you have at your disposal.

'Left' and 'right' arrows move you around the world, with 'up' catapulting you towards the heavens and 'down' sending you sliding along the ground if you're running fast enough. You'll also need to perfect wall-jumping if you want to succeed.

The pencil is mightier than the sword

Each level has a different theme and its own look, but the basic gameplay template remains the same. You bounce from pillar to post, collecting squiggles, and stomping on the heads of any unwary creature who gets in your way.

Later in the game you unlock the pencil weapon, which lets you duke it out with enemies head-on. The combat feels a little out of place for a game that's built almost entirely around speed, but it's not annoying enough to make too much of a difference.

The same goes for the exploration element of the game. Each level has secrets to find and unlock, and while that adds to the lifespan of the title, stopping yourself mid-sprint to go and see if there's a secret chamber somewhere nearby doesn't feel natural.

The wrong trousers

Fancy Pants is very much stuck in the '90s. From its boss fights to its underwater sequences and sly sense of humour, everything about it is a little dated. It's still an interesting adventure, and there's plenty for platform junkies to get their teeth into, but it lacks any real vision.

There are scores of other games on the App Store that do quick-blast platforming just as well, and more than a handful that do it a lot better. The wall-jumping is a little too sticky, and the level design isn't of the highest quality.

It's a fun way of wasting time, and extra levels and challenges mean that it's decent value. As long as you don't expect it to change the way you think about jumping from one flat surface to another, then you'll find a lot here to enjoy.
 
Fancy Pants
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 5 March 2012
Far from revolutionary, Fancy Pants is an interesting, slightly muddled game that still manages to have moments of high-speed brilliance
 
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