REVIEW / Tad the Lost Explorer (Switch)


We’ve said this before but the humble platformer comes in many shapes and sizes. This is also the realm of the lovable mascots that have been helping to shape the gaming landscape since further back than some of you can remember. We all know Crash, Mario, and Sonic; but how many of you remember Dizzy, or Zool, or dare I say it, Bubsy? Then we have all the nearly but not quite characters that were destined for IPs that sadly never happened. I know you’re wondering what any of this has to do with anything but I’m not just rambling as usual. I’m going to be introducing you to a new friend today. His name’s Tad and he’s an explorer of sorts. Sadly, he’s not a very good one.



We’re returning to the days of colorful characters and silly stories in Tad the Lost Explorer. I don’t mean silly as in badly written by the way, I’m really enjoying my time with this game. This is the sort of goofiness that reminds us that we take what we do far too seriously most of the time and that sometimes it’s just nice to relax. In this particular case, we’ll be doing that in a true side-scrolling, platform, fashion. I’m having 90s flashbacks, (with way better graphics, of course,) and I’m loving it! As a little side note, Tad is a character from a movie that I haven’t seen and didn’t know anything about. This being said I played this as a totally separate entity from the movie and won’t be drawing comparisons here.

We’ll be taking the titular explorer into a bunch of different crypts, ruins, a somewhat dangerous university, and other fun locations. Tad is trying desperately hard to make a name for himself by finding something truly marvelous hidden away and waiting to make his career for him. The problem is that these mysterious places are crammed full of traps and harmful beasties that would like nothing more than to eat him. Even if he can get out without being impaled, roasted, electrocuted, poisoned, or digested by one of several hungry critters, there are darker forces at play.



Being a bit gullible and not very bright Tad will need to rely on his team if he’s going to stay out of some rather sticky situations. One of these teammates just so happens to be his long-suffering girlfriend, Sara. She’s fully aware that Tad’s heart is in the right place but at the same time, he really isn’t cut out for the majority of the messes he keeps finding himself in. This being said, her number one priority is keeping the unfortunate explorer alive with any treasure being found by him coming a a pleasantly unexpected second. She’s a playable character too, when the story permits. In fact, you’ll have other characters that you’ll need to get to grips with as you go. I’ll let you meet them yourself, though, let’s avoid spoilers where possible.

Graphically Tad the Lost Explorer is taking me back to the many happy hours I spent getting murdered in the shoes of the likes of Crash Bandicoot, (the first time around – no reboots for me,) and I mean this as a serious compliment. Although there’s the frustration of knowing death is very much a problem that you’ll be facing literally all of the time there’s a warm comfyness that comes with games like this that just keeps you wanting to come back for more. Something that definitely aids this is the fact that you can’t die. Instead of being booted unceremoniously to a game over screen every five minutes, or being forced to load a save state, you’re just plopped right before you fouled up and given the chance to go again. Granted, this makes the game a bit easier but in this particular case, I’m not complaining. I’m having fun and I think that’s most important.



I wouldn’t call Tad the Lost Explorer a challenging game, and I have a feeling it’s probably been designed for a slightly younger audience. This being said I think it’s a choice that was quite wise on behalf of the team, to be honest. If I take the younger me, for example, I would have been very happy with a colorful, fun, and engaging story; with bright graphics and controls that didn’t feel like they’d been mapped for a rocket scientist. This being said I had to take my adult hat off and try and remember what that felt like. It feels rather good, actually. We’re so used to cripplingly difficult platformers we’ve become so jaded and desensitized that anything that isn’t Super Meat Boy or harder is literally for kids. Not everything has to be an almost impossible task and new players have to start somewhere. I was quite happy plodding from area to area, grabbing collectibles, and killing things with rubber chickens. You also don’t have to worry about respawning enemies, something I’d forgotten was even a thing. The things you kill stay dead. Imagine that!

I have absolutely no complaints when it comes to any of the nuts and bolts that we put so much importance on. The graphics are gorgeous, the sound is fun and fitting and the controls are as smooth as butter. The sensitivity is also absolutely perfect. At no point did I feel like Bambi on ice and this is a personal pet peeve with platformers. When I need my character to stop I actually want them to. I don’t want to have to factor in a skate of several feet every time I jump, it’s really bloody annoying. In this title, I know that if I’ve just landed in a death pit it’s my fault and not that of an overly-sensitive control system.



All in all, we have a brilliant platformer here that’s perfect for those of you wanting a break from some of the harder offerings in the platform genre. It’s fun and well-written with a cartoony plot and likable characters, (the narrator is a mummy, ) making this a great choice for younger and older players alike. Equally, those of you who are new to platformers will find a lot to love here and will have a perfect introduction to what can be a very punishing space at times on your hands. I think those of you who have cut your teeth on savagely difficult games will find this one way too easy but then I think a lot of you move in more competitive spaces now so this one probably wouldn’t be on your radar anyway. I know I’ve said this a couple of times now, but Tad the Lost Explorer is fun and an excellent way to kill a few hours with your switch. Enough said, in my opinion, what’s not to like?


Memory lane is a fun place to go
  • 8/10
    Look and feel - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Story - 8/10
  • 6/10
    Challenge - 6/10
  • 8/10
    Controls - 8/10
  • 6/10
    Replayability - 6/10

A perfect start for budding platform fans

Tad the Lost Explorer is not a difficult game. I say this to the point where a lot of more seasoned players looking for a new challenge won’t find it here. In this particular case, I’m not sure this game is designed for you though, or me either in all honesty. This is a title that’s going to be a blast for younger gamers and a fun trip down memory lane for slightly bigger kids. The relatively low difficulty level is overshadowed by great graphics, a fun and engaging story, and a drive to want to finish the game because you’re enjoying it and not out of competition.  I’m going to play Tad to the finish, simply because I’m enjoying myself. That should be enough, right?