A charming hunt for legendary treasure.
There’s something fun and exciting about searching for treasure that brings back memories of games like Zelda and Tomb Raider. There’s an expectation that you should be able to explore, find secrets, and find meaningful upgrades. For all its flaws, Treasure Adventure World has the essence of a fun treasure hunting game while not being too derivative of other games in the genre.
Unfortunately, however, it’s dull up until around three hours because the combat isn’t fun, there’s a lack of side quests you can actually complete, and getting stuck on a puzzle for even a short time means that you can’t progress until you finish it. When you’re stuck in the same area, boredom sets in quickly.
Once you find the first of the game’s twelve “Legendary Treasures” it opens up, with many different leads on where to find more treasures and fun side quests to complete. However, I think it’s likely that someone just picking up the game will quit before finding the first treasure. The puzzles leading up to the first treasure aren’t that easy, and the time it takes before reaching the treasure might prompt someone to quit playing.
I like the game’s quirky art style even though I wish the main character was drawn in more detail. The parrot, Whydin, looks great. Most of the game’s music is good, but the music that plays underground, in particular, is annoying and repetitive.
Treasure Adventure World begins with a few cutscenes. Our hero is traveling the world with her (or his?) father and uncle. Something unexplained happens, which separates her from her family, and then many years later, she washes up on the shore of an island where she is adopted by her (non-biological) grandfather and grandmother. Fast forward to today, and the hero is still in bed while her grandmother calls her to celebrate her “special day” (sound like Wind Waker so far?). Today is the five-year anniversary of the day she washed up on the island, and she still doesn’t know what happened to her family.
That day a parrot called Whydin shows up in her house and tells her to start collecting twelve Legendary Treasures. No explanation is needed about why Whydin or the hero even wants to find the treasures in the first place. They set off for the treasures, using a ship that deploys when she jumps into the water, but shrinks to the size of one pixel when they’re not using it.
During their travels they come across a museum that was built by a man named Baggus. Baggus is actually her uncle, who traveled with the hero and her father five years ago. Baggus built the museum at the entrance to a temple that requires twelve Legendary Treasures to unlock. Inside the temple is said to be the power to grant one wish, a wish that they hope to use to bring the hero’s mother back to life.
There’s also a mythological backstory in which the three gods created the world’s races – humans and animals – who built a civilisation together, but war erupted because of mistrust between them. This could have been a really interesting backstory, but it lacks the things that would bring the story to life such as stories about the people who lived in this ancient civilisation.
The game’s movement doesn’t feel as fluid as it should be considering that the main focus of the game is exploration. Movement is slippery, and it takes about half a second to go from full speed to a complete stop. There are many sections which require precise movement in the air, and the aerial movement is just as slippery. You eventually get used to it, but controlling the character just isn’t as fast and fun as it could be. I also wish you could run faster than the normal running speed without having to search for the sprint boots. The shorter it takes to get from one place to the other, the better.
Combat is basically run-and-attack until you unlock the throwing hook. You unlock the throwing hook relatively early, but I still wish the basic attack had a little more range so you could run up to enemies and kill them without stopping. The bosses, on the other hand, were a pleasant surprise. Most of the boss battles have great music and use interesting mechanics.
Since Treasure Adventure World is all about, you know, treasure, you would expect the items you can collect to be varied and useful. The main items you have to collect are the twelve Legendary Treasures, but before you can find them, you have to find NavPearls that will mark their location on your map. You also have to find some useful items, such as the dive helm, the flashlight, and the shovel.
For savvy collectors, there are antique stores all over the world that sell twelve different hats, each with unique bonuses. Also hidden around are golden fruits to increase your maximum health, three hook upgrades, a house that you can buy, and four mysterious scrolls that grant access to an underwater temple. That’s a lot of unlockables, but unfortunately, you can’t find most of the items until you find the first treasure.
True to its title, Treasure Adventure World is a fun treasure-hunting game. But especially early on, there aren’t enough things you can find or side quests to complete. In the first two islands you visit, I thought I would find more interesting things than I actually did. Instead, I spent a lot of time looking for treasures that weren’t there. The early puzzles weren’t particularly interesting either. Maybe it’s just me, but after reaching the museum, collecting the treasures became more interesting just because I could choose which order to collect them in.
As I mentioned, the other gripe I have with Treasure Adventure World is the movement. It’s too slippery. It doesn’t feel good to control the hero, as it is in other platformers. But thankfully, the treasure hunting is spot-on, the game has great boss fights, and it offers a good number of miniquests and other treats.