PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night
PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night = GOTY Contender???
No, it's not deja vu and no you haven't been in this place before. Eagle eye readers who read our content (much love to you guys by the way) will notice I repurposed this header. This is a similar subheader to the
awful amazing game, My Friend Peppa Pig. A game that I've personally dreaded greatly appreciated for breaking new strides in gaming. In all seriousness, Peppa Pig was obviously nothing more than a money cash-in for little kids. Rather than create a new IP and win a younger audience over with creativity, companies have resorted to cheaper alternatives. It's not at all as expensive to simply borrow a license, make a copy-and-paste game and call it a day. Petoons Studio hits the nail on the head again with PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night.
Like Peppa Pig, PJ Masks is a tv show geared towards children with its nonsensical plots, relatable characters, and the inability to take itself seriously. I mean, the main protagonists, Catboy, Owlette, and Gekko are crime-fighting pajama-wearing superheroes. That's all I need to know right there. Rather than spending this first take saying how far out of touch I am with children's television (there are several unplayed games I can save that for), let's talk about PJ Masks. As with My Friend Peppa Pig, Petoons Studio is once again in charge of developing a children's game. Considering a superhero game has more room for action than the day in a life of a talking pig, surely this one is less of a snoozefest? Right?
The Auto-Scrollers Will 'Drive' Players Crazy
All wishful thinking was put out the window the moment I spent a level playing through PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night. Each level begins with an auto-scroller, indicated by the symbol of the hero in the level select screen. Catboy will drive in his Cat-car, with the goal being to collect 100 gems by swerving left and right. Owlette uses the Owl Glider, as the name suggests, flying left, right, up, and down. Lastly, Gekko uses the Gekko-mobile, a vehicle that can travel on land and underwater, borrowing control mechanics from both Catboy and Owlette. The mechanics of driving the vehicles are simple enough, yet the criticisms come with Owlette and Gekko's vehicles.
Since the player can move in four directions, the depth perception can be hard to grasp. This is "alleviated" with gems leaving off trails to "guide" a player to the right path. Gems emitting a trail from the left means they are on the right lane, right trails = left lane, upper trails = bottom lane, and lower trails = top lane. Knowing this means collecting gems is easier but this isn't explicitly stated beforehand. The inclusion of these "trails" means that Petoons Studio realized that the game had issues and sought to correct them. Unfortunately, they turned a blind eye to other glaring problems PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night have.
Yet Another Oversimplified Children's Game...
After the auto-scroller section, the player will control the PJ Masks to reach the end of the level in one piece. Each level should feel like a walk in the park, despite travelling across rooftops, sewage, and a town at night. That's because there's no way to "fail" a level, giving off elements of another game that has the same problem. Earlier when we looked at Paw Patrol The Movie: Adventure City Calls, we complained that the game lacked any challenge. The same rings true for PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night sadly as the game is a collectathon. Collect 100 gems in the autoscrolling section, then collect 100 gems in the platforming section, and reach the end.
There are no enemies, no pitfalls, lives, health, resources, or anything. The controls are simply jumping, holding forward, and pressing buttons when you are told. Occasionally there are obstacles that each hero will need to overcome with their powers. A cloud of smoke means Owlette will need to blow them away with her wings. Catboy will need to use his speed to outpace dangerous obstacles. Gekko will use his camouflage to sneak past enemies. Each hero also has a unique trait, with the ability to fly, double jump, and climb walls respectively. There are unique emblems that players will have to collect as they play each hero.
It's Time To Put The Kids To Bed
The lack of challenge and adversaries come to light when the player reaches the end of a level in PJ Masks. In the end, the main antagonist of the level shows themselves, confronting the superhero trio in a standoff. Any hopes of an epic fight are quickly diminished as the game enters a "QTE" section. I use this very loosely as the game is telling you to press a button while your character suspends in mid-air. For research purposes, I didn't press anything as the time window closed just to see what would happen if I didn't. All that happens is that the character remains suspended until you, the player, finally press the right button to continue the cutscene.
Regardless, the villain is defeated and depending on how many gems and emblems are collected, a medal will be awarded ranging from gold, silver, and bronze. If the Rewards menu is anything to go by, there are a total of 16 levels altogether, which follows the exact process rinsed and repeated. The same criticisms I can give to Paw Patrol The Movie are those I'll give this game. The game is charming to a fault, but its inoffensiveness is its downfall. Even for its target audience, it's insulting to its core player base by not giving them any sense of fulfillment. PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night is, once again, a "follow the instructions" simulator for kids, and children deserve way better than this.
PJ Masks: Heroes Of The Night is available on PC, PS4, Switch, and Xbox One.