Peppa Pig: World Adventures Review (PS4) Regardless of whether you have children, it is highly likely that you are aware of Peppa Pig due to the sheer enduring popularity of the show which has been running for nearly twenty years over nearly four hundred episodes. The reason behind the show’s staying power is down to a superb voice cast, a combination of writing which throws enough gags in to keep the adults laughing and the simple but unique visual style which steadfastly refuses to recognise the third dimension.
The show has spawned numerous theme parks across the globe, enough merchandise to fill a thousand landfill sites and a host of books and musical releases. But strangely, there have only been a handful of video game adaptations, namely two Nintendo Wii / DS games in 2009 / 2010 and then the first cross console release My friend Peppa Pig in 2021 from Spanish developer Petoons. The first Petoons / Bandai Namco collaboration was relatively well received and aimed to allow players to inhabit the much-loved world of the TV show. But does this latest release do for Peppa Pig what Holiday On The Buses did for On the Buses in the stinky seventies?
Peppa Pig: World Adventures Review (PS4) – A Pig in a Poke
Jumping up and down in muddy puddles
I can assume that you’re reading this review to see whether it’s worth blowing £34.99 / $39.99 on this game in order to distract your child so you can sit undisturbed to fanny around on your phone for a bit longer than usual. Or you’re one of those Platinum Trophy gannets looking for an easy win in order to temporarily edge ahead of one of your ‘friends’ trophy lists in order to give your deplorable existence some meaning. For the latter, you’ll be pleasantly surprised how easy it is to rack up the holy grail. For the former, read on…
Like the previous Petoons Peppa Pig game, this really looks convincing. The animated cartoon world is perfectly realised, with spot-on representations of all the staple characters and their resident haunts. Before you get to meet Peppa and her family, you get to create your own character using a modest bank of body parts and clothes. My three year old son, who was going through a phase of binging on Peppa Pig, was totally engaged and loved directing me to create the new family which would star in the game. Like My Family Peppa Pig, you can also design your family’s house, albeit with less choices but nevertheless a fun and inclusive introduction to the game.
It’s all downhill from here
Once the fun stuff is out of the way, you can start exploring the environs around your house via a combination of limited scrolling landscapes peppered with activities such as zip wires, kites and muddy puddles. Interaction is kept to a bare minimum with just a single button press required for most activities, aside from using the left stick to move you around. A press of Square triggers your characters signature animal noise and pressing Cross gives you a boost when you’re cycling.
You soon meet up with Peppa and her family and it’s then that things start to take a turn for the worse. Hearing the characters speak suddenly sets alarm bells ringing, as the resemblance between the voices in the game and much-loved voice actors in the TV show is entirely absent. Peppa herself sounds like she is voiced by a child who has binged on sugar before taking a swig of Daddy Pig’s beer – a disconcerting combination of excitable and woozy. George is less obviously bad, merely delivering his trademark ‘yuck’ and ‘dinosaur’ with the same gusto as a toddler who would rather be doing something else. Talking of doing something else, Daddy Pig’s usual deadpan hilarity is binned in favour of a voice actor who has yet to master the basics of inflection whilst sounding rather miffed about pretty much everything he says. Mummy Pig doesn’t fare much better, although at least the voice actor’s delivery is somewhat less monotonous.
My son’s reaction to these voices was a combination of confusion and instant detachment, as he realised that his beloved show had been hijacked by some cut-price imposters. Thereafter he struggled to maintain any sort of enthusiasm for the game, merely requesting that I put ‘proper’ Peppa Pig on. While he returned to the show, I struggled on hoping to find some sort of redemption in the game content and expanded world on offer.
Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that the genuinely witty scripts of the TV show which are filled with deadpan eccentricities have been jettisoned in favour of something resembling an AI bot’s interpretation of what cartoon characters might say. Petoons’ inability to include any genuine humour is pretty much inexcusable, entirely missing the charm of why the show was popular in the first place.
I ventured on, honking away at inappropriate times during the pre-recorded speech for my own amusement, eventually finding the port and setting off on a cruise ship with Peppa and her family. Why my own family didn’t join me, heaven knows, but at least they didn’t mind me going on holiday nine times with a family who I’d only met 5 minutes earlier.
At the docks, there’s a choice of different countries to visit and each of them offers up some generic stereotypes such as making pizza in Italy, having a barbecue in Australia and going up the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Once you arrive, there is usually a preamble and a bit of walking before you come across an activity or an interactive location and exploring the entire area then triggers a visit from Daddy Pig who proclaims that it’s time to get back. Still, there are some genuine moments of adventure for kids and a smattering of educational points in each city which may be memorable enough to lodge in their long-term memory.
London: last and least
Trying to ignore the voice acting and the abysmal scripting, I soldiered on in order to explore all the locations, leaving London until last, partly due to my reluctance to visit virtual London knowing how godawful the place is in real life. Still, at least Peppa wouldn’t have to blow black snot out of her nose for three days after returning home.
On arrival in London with Peppa Pig, we are soon outside Buckingham Palace with a reminder from Daddy Pig that this is the home of the Queen. Huh? Surely some mistake, Petoons? Still, it was a few weeks before the game was released so a quick patch would do the trick. But then the Queen appears and proceeds to give you and the pigs a tour around some of the sights of London. Hmm. I wonder how they’re going to patch this, I murmur to myself. I continue on in the presence of Her Majesty until we get our usual reminder that we should be getting back. After boarding the cruise ship, a black screen appears with Elizabeth II R.I.P. underneath accompanied by the cartoon Queen. Astonished that the developers had gone ahead with the release 6 months after the Queen had passed away without thinking to remove or remake the London scenes, I continued to play through the game even more bemused than I had been previously.
After visiting all of the cities and unlocking the bonus destination, I completed the game and was greeted by another black screen which now attempted to justify the inclusion of the Queen in the London scenes as a ‘tribute’ to Her Royal Highness stopping just short of ‘She would have wanted it this way’. Now this started to feel a tad sinister. This game is aimed fairly and squarely at pre-school children, but these black screen messages were clearly aimed at incredulous adults who were probably starting to fell that they had been duped into purchasing something not fit for purpose.
Resident Evil: World Adventures
Another factor which ensured my son was no longer interested in indulging me in collaborating in this review became apparent around ten minutes into the game. This game is not finished. Overlooking the mystically elongated loading times, characters appear and disappear frequently on entering or leaving any scene, the sound mix is totally out of whack meaning the abysmal script is often inaudible over the music, and a strange looped scraping noise is audible more often than not throughout the game. While this last feature would work quite well in Resident Evil: World Adventures, it merely enhances the sinister elements around the monotone voice acting and the dead Queen to create an atmosphere of confusion and mild dread.
Yes on the surface you have a passable interactive version of the world of Peppa Pig from a visual perspective, but the black screens and the aural scrapings paint a different picture. It also has the longest un-skippable credit sequence of ANY video game. EVER. Which I’m sure pre-school children will LOVE.
Peppa Pig: World Adventures is available now on PS4 / PS5
Review copy courtesy of Bandai Namco