Despite being far, far from the target age range of Paw Patrol World, I – a fully-grown adult – found myself getting entranced in its simple yet inexplicably charming open world. But for young children, particularly those who are fond of the popular squad of canine heroes, this game is an absolute delight.
The fifth game based on Paw Patrol to come to PC and consoles, Paw Patrol World is undoubtedly the best. It’s the biggest, the most fully-featured, and gives players the most agency to tackle the game however they see fit. It manages all that while still being simple and easy to learn – and absolutely appealing to the younger demographic. Children aged between three and eight are going to get the most out of this, but older ones will likely find a guilty pleasure here too: its simple, inoffensive nature makes playing through it a relaxing joy.
Paw Patrol World is essentially four small open world games in one. Taking control of any one of the eight popular Paw Patrol pups – Chase, Skye, Marshall, Rubble, Rocky, Zuma, Tracker and Everest – players will make their way around familiar locations, taking missions from Ryder and picking up side quests dotted around. Starting off in Adventure Bay, there’s a series of story missions to complete there – revolving around stopping Mayor Humdinger ruin the Paw Patrol Day celebrations – before moving on to subsequent locations. Rinse and repeat in the Jungle and the Mountains, with each area having its own characters to meet and missions to collect.
It’s basically like a living, breathing series of Paw Patrol that you can control yourself. Thanks to characters being fully voiced, it really does feel like the TV show, and that alone is going to be enough to put a huge smile on the face of any fan. After being given a robust tutorial that’s perfectly pitched to introduce the basics to absolute beginners – walking, jumping and interacting with objects, respectively – players are free to do as they please. Sure, you can go to Ryder to pick up the first story mission if you want. Or you can simply frolic around Adventure Bay, picking up collectible bones, playing in the park and hunting down secrets.
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There’s everything that you’d expect from an open world game here, scaled down perfectly to suit young children. Dog bones are littered literally everywhere, and as you pick them up, a meter fills up. As it fills time and time again, you’ll be awarded goodies: outfits for your pups, stickers for their vehicles, emotes and more. Around the world there’s also pup tags and postcards to be found, because what’s an open world game without plenty of collectibles to hunt down?
You can switch to a pup at the push of a button, and you can also jump into any one of their vehicles at the touch of a button, too. Each pup has their own unique skills which you’ll need to make use of to complete missions, or to randomly interact with stuff in the world. Find a blue podium, for example, and Chase can stand on it to inexplicably pull out his megaphone, declaring to the world that Chase is, indeed, on the case. Think he’s got a bit of an ego problem, that one. Elsewhere, a broken bench can be fixed by Rubble’s toolkit, and Zuma can use his hovercraft to head out onto the water. You can switch characters manually, or you can hop into the options to turn on auto switching when a task calls for a different character – something that makes playing that bit more streamlined and faff-free.
There’s a wealth of handy options to be found that make playing Paw Patrol World that bit more fun, actually. By default, dialogue can’t be skipped. It does get a bit repetitive, however – certainly for older players – and so it’s nice to see that you can toggle on the ability to skip it. You can also toggle on or off manual camera controls: younger players may struggle to use the right stick to control the camera themselves, and so by default it’s turned off. But for older players, turning it on makes things feel much more natural.
Paw Patrol World is a pleasant surprise: it’s a rare children’s game that actually feels like thought and care has gone into its creation. It manages to capture the essence of Paw Patrol while also being an engaging and fun open world game in its own right. It’s one of the best games aimed at young children of recent years – and if you’ve got a young Paw Patrol fan in your life, they’re going to love it. Heck, you’ll probably even quite like it yourself.