The game title Tad can be seen with his dog looking at a pyramid

TAD – The Lost Explorer – Craziest and Madness Edition Review

Game: TAD – The Lost Explorer – Craziest and Madness Edition
Genre: Adventure, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (Also available on Steam (Windows & Linux) and PS4)
Developer|Publisher: Gammera Nest | Selecta Play
Age Rating: EU 7 | US E 10+
Price: UK £35.99 | US $39.99 | EU € 39,99
Release Date: July 7th, 2023

Review code provided with many thanks to Press Engine. 

Not to be Mistaken With That Other Hero

TAD – The Lost Explorer – Craziest and Madness Edition is a 2D platformer that might just win the award for the longest game title of the year so far. Some of you may recognise this is a game based on the film released last year TAD – The Explorer and the Lost Explorer and the Emerald Tablet. I personally have no experience with the films or the graphic novel this series originated from.

I looked up a few trailers and clips on the internet. It looks like a pretty goofy family-friendly adventure and not some poor imitation of another famous explorer with an ionic hat and whip. As for the game, TAD is a passable Switch experience, but it feels like something made for the TAD fans. 

TAD and his friends are riding down the river in a bathtub
The best way to get about is by bathtub

Lost in References 

The game follows TAD and his pals, including his girlfriend Sara and best pal Mummy, yes, that type of Mummy. Just go with it. The plot centres around the film’s events; Tad, in his clumsiness, unleashes a curse affecting his friends. To lift it, he needs to track down the Emerald Tablet, which will take them on a globe-trotting adventure. The story is told in a combination of in-game cutscenes or comic book panels presented between levels. The latter is probably the most interesting design. The artwork of these panels appears to be based on the original comic strip of TAD, which has that crude yet unique style to it. These panels are narrated with full acting, which is interesting since this is not featured in the in-game cutscenes, which use text only and silly noises for the characters.

Various Locations to Visit

I will praise the game’s general graphics, which are surprisingly detailed for a film tie-in game. Your adventure will take you to various locations, from Aztec ruins to the Louvre in Paris and the Pyramids of Egypt. Each location has fine attention to detail in the environmental designs, with plenty of detail in the backgrounds. It’s clear the developers have a lot of love for the film or the TAD series in general.

There appear to be a lot of references to the film and TAD lore with characters you encounter, like an old archaeologist always ending a conversion with ‘I’m a shadow’ and a parrot that likes to hold signs with text, usually making a joke at the players’ expense. Many of the references went over my head, but it still achieved the odd chuckle out of me. The experience feels more of a compliment to the film as it clearly skims over major plot points. 

A comic book panel TADs dog is about to eat a important medallion
Never take your dog on a dig


TAD is a mixture of 2D platformer, stealth section and light puzzle solving. Four characters are playable across the game, some with unique abilities, but it pre-decides who you play as. Controls are pretty easy to pick up, with the parrot often giving you reminders as you go. The goal of each level is simply to reach the exit; this is usually disguised as some objective like finding an artefact or deactivating a security system, you know, the usual things. Each level feels pretty bite-sized. In fact, the whole game probably won’t take you more than 4-5 hours to beat, and that’s if you look in every nook and cranny.

Level design is not complicated, and figuring out where to go is easy. Throughout each level are several collectables like paint brushes which act as the game’s version of coins or rings. Stamps and relics can be found in secret places, which you can then look up in the options menu to learn more about. There is some light combat where you can kill or stun enemies by flinging rubber chickens you collect at them, another reference that feels like it’s from the films. Using these is very simple. So long as the enemy highlights, it will home in on them without needing to aim. In some rare instances, you can whip out a torch, light it at a fire and use this to light other lanterns to open new paths.

Puzzle Sections

The game occasionally features puzzles where you need to rotate four stone tablets correctly by finding the clues in the library. The added twist is you can only rotate the tablets when a suitable distraction is present. It’s probably the best moment of the game, but sadly these moments are far too few, with it mostly focusing on platforming. The platforming I wasn’t so fond of, which wasn’t helped by the flimsy controls. Character movement feels sluggish, and jumping is not always responsive, leading to many trips into spike pits or just falling to my death. It is not so bad, though, since regular checkpoints give the game a very casual feel.


Then there are the stealth sections which feel slow and tedious. Mostly hiding in a cupboard, waiting for the guards to pass, and also remembering to crouch as they are sensitive to your footprints. This feature would be pretty clever but doesn’t gel well with the 2D-level design. Playing through the game was very up and down for me. This is clearly catered to a very casual crowd, like kids or gamers who don’t want a challenging experience.

The experience is very mixed, mostly mediocre, as you move from level to level. There are fun levels, like when you ride in a bathtub down a river, but there are also awful moments, like the final boss fight, which was all kinds of frustrating. Once I finished, I really didn’t have much desire to return to pick up any collectables I missed. 

TADs girlfriend Sara is trying to dodge some spiders
Why did it have to be spiders

New to Switch Version

So what does the Craziest and Madness Edition actually add to the Switch version? Turns out a few things. The most notable being you can play as an additional fourth character in the form of the Mummy. This character can jump higher and jump into his own sarcophagus at the push of a button. This enables him to hide from enemies and security in the stealth sections instantly.

The levels featuring the Mummy are probably the most diverse and well put together, featuring a mixture of platforming, stealth and puzzle solving. In addition to the new character, tweaks have been made to the graphics and level design, adding a more 2.5 look to the experience. 3D cinematic cutscenes have also been added, although I didn’t feel these really added much to the experience compared to the comic panels displayed between levels. 

A picture of one of the games collectibles hidden in a chest. Its a Tlachtli Ball
Collect some interesting artefacts.

Conclusion: For TAD Fans

I guess if you are looking for the definitive TAD experience, the Switch version of the game is it. While I admire the developers for having another crack at the whip with this one since they clearly love the source material. I also commend them because you don’t see a lot of films converted to games outside the mobile realm.

Despite some great attention to the graphics and source material, the game just feels okay. Platforming is awkward, and the stealth is irritating. The puzzle sections are probably the best part, but they feel underused. For the rather high price of entry, this is a hard one to recommend to general gaming audiences. TAD fans… yes, but everyone else watches the films first, and if you like them before, maybe give it a go. 

Final Verdict: I Like it

I like it

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.