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Fancy Pants Adventures preview: Getting those fancy pants dirty


Fancy Pants Adventures started life as a well-received Flash game, and was on show in its downloadable XBLA/PSN incarnation at EA's "Spring Showcase" event last week in NYC. Fancy Pants -- the game's main man -- isn't much in the way of size; he's a stick figure with a pair of sweet orange pants and a little brillo tuft atop his circle head.

The lightweight, hand-drawn art style of stick figures and basic levels helped the game stand out to me among the many Unreal 3-powered titans surrounding it. And playing it, I learned, was an absolute blast.

Gallery: The Fancy Pants Adventures | 8 Photos

Though the game's creator, Brad Borne, probably doesn't love the comparison, Fancy Pants Adventures is quite similar to N+ in terms of gameplay. While the jumping isn't quite as pixel perfect as N+ demanded, the sense of momentum and necessity to "game" the physics system are primary components of its platforming. It's refreshing, honestly, after playing the unrelenting Super Meat Boy late last year. More succinctly, FPA feels like N+ and Sonic the Hedgehog had a very fancy, stick figure baby.

Rather than going for pixel precision, Borne decided to map specific actions to various types of jumps. For instance, jumping off of a wall while pressing left at a range of angles results in one type of jump, while pushing up at a range of angles as you jump off of a wall results in another -- this means that folks who aren't looking to master each jump can expect consistency in their jump actions without much trial-and-error. And it lends a unique twist to the 2D platforming formula that differentiates it from others in the genre.

FPA's couch and online co-op is reminiscent of New Super Mario Bros. Wii or LittleBigPlanet 2. Players can trip and kick each other, and bounce off each others' heads. Sure, you could use some of these co-op actions to complete goals, but my experience tended to devolve into just being kicked around (more fun than it sounds, I assure you). This is also a notable addition from the Flash version, which doesn't support multiplayer gaming.

Despite the fact that "World 3" of his free Flash game arrives at some point after the console launch, the game's creator assures fans that their money will be well worth the price. "FPA on console is going to be the best way to adventure as Fancy Pants Man -- full screen on your TV, played with a controller -– that's the old school way to play platformers," Borne says. And I can't help but agree after playing both. Check out the Flash game for yourself right here.

When Fancy Pants Adventures launches on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network sometime this spring, I'll be donning my fanciest pants, ordering a pizza, and jumping right in. You're welcome to join me, but I totally call dibs on the dude with orange pants.

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