With a focus on younger children, Outright brings spirited versions of Peppa Pig, PJ Masks, and more to Switch.
Something that has been missing in the world of console video games is the inspired attempts to take kids licenses and turn them into great games. I’m talking about DuckTales on the NES or the Ronald McDonald game from Treasure on Sega Genesis. I also talk about the junk that arises from situations like Superman 64, but this is a core part of my childhood memories of video games that mostly went into free cell phone games. Outright Games is coming, the family-friendly video game publisher trying to bring that joy back to consoles.
Outright Games was active on Switch, with some highlights being Transformers Battlegrounds and Ice Age: Scrat’s Nutty Adventure. In 2021, they have a sizable lineup ranging from Peppa Pig and PJ Masks games to The Addams Family and Fast & Furious. Their goal is to create games for the younger audience, and their lineups for 2021 range from adventures for toddlers to a Fast & Furious racing game.
Without kids knowing, a well-made animated version of Fast & Furious has been on Netflix for years. This year this cartoon brand of auto racing adventure is making the leap to video games and from what we’ve seen in a hands-on demo it appears to be a solid racer bringing out elements that street racing with a cartoon Mario Kart Connect vibe. 3DClouds is behind the development, a studio behind the interesting pirate game King of Seas and a plethora of other racing games. The groundwork was laid for something that would add some depth to the racing games available on Switch, especially if you have a kid who’s interested in the show.
Fast & Furious Spy Racers: Rise of Shif3r, which hits November 5th, aims to take the basics of being a kart racer and then change the skin to look a little closer to Dirt or Forza Horizon. 3DClouds come from their own past as well as other classics like the first Need for Speed and the criminally underrated Blur. I look forward to getting my hands on the final game to see if all of these wonderful inspirations come together because the promise is good.
The game offers 17 tracks that are spread over five locations. Four of the locales are based on real world regions and the last is in a Tron-like computing environment. It aims at a stable 30 frames per second on Switch and will offer a split-screen multiplayer mode for two players as well as an online multiplayer mode for up to six players. Unfortunately there will be no crossplay.
Fast & Furious isn’t the only racer 3DClouds is doing with Outright Games this year, however. With Blaze and the Monster Machines: Axle City Racers, another children’s item – Nickelodeon’s Blaze and the Monster Machines – will be released for Switch on October 1st. This is a little younger than Fast & Furious but seems to have the same spirit of taking the kart racer and changing skin for a different demographic. If we have learned anything from Mario Kart’s legacy, it is that a good kart racer can appeal to virtually anyone. Blaze and the Monster Machines might not replace Mario Kart 8 Deluxe on Switch, but it could certainly complement it well, especially since it has helpful assist controls for younger gamers.
3DClouds isn’t the only developer working with Outright. Petoon Studios (the indie developers behind the upcoming “Ratroidvania” Curse of the Sea Rats) are working on PJ Masks: Heroes of the Night for an October 29th release, and this one speaks more to my interests, mainly because I have a 3- Year version have -old kid enjoying some PJ masks. It’s a 3D side-scroller that has the potential to become a smart entry-level action game for fans of the series. I can attest that while my child is shockingly good at several Mario games, it is always nice to see a game that has a design philosophy specifically designed for them. From what I’ve seen about the game so far, it looks like it draws on some fundamentals of the genre and focuses on the distinctive skills of the PJ Masks heroes, so veteran video game gamers can probably imagine how it translates to platformer speed (Catboy), flight (Owlette) and strength (Gekko). It’s not Lost Vikings, but the premise has a little in common.
One of the Outright Games projects that interested me the most is My Friend Peppa Pig, which is more dedicated to storytelling that really coincides with the source material. I love that you just make your own character in the style of the show and just hang out with Peppa Pig. It seems inappropriately chilled and legitimately seems like a chance for your child (or you if you really want them to) to be a part of the show. When you watch the trailer, it looks like the TV show. I didn’t expect to look forward to a Peppa Pig game before I had kids, but here we are. This looks really brilliant in a way I wasn’t expecting.
As a parent, I’m really looking forward to this lineup from Outright Games. I hope they can thread the needle so these games are licensed but also fun for both the kids who play the games and the parents who play with them. Who knows, maybe my kid will write about how memorable My Friend Peppa Pig has been for them in 30 years as they long for the games for their kids to return to that level of fun and quality.