Platform: Playstation 3
Developer: Japan Studio
Average: blu-ray disc
In line: No
CERS: E10 +
Puppeteer is a wonderful and magical platforming experience for the PlayStation 3 that will surely be overlooked by many. It’s a shame too, because it’s truly one of the most inventive, enjoyable and totally original side-scrollers of this generation. Sure, we loved Rayman Origins and Legends and rushed over to the LittleBigPlanet series, but Puppeteer is really something else.
Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment Japan, Puppeteer is kind of a throwback to the original platform games such as Clockwork Knight, Klonoa, Tomba! or Dynamite Headdy (to name a few). It’s also a distinctively Japanese creation, from gameplay to graphics, which can be considered somewhat rare these days unfortunately.
The bizarre story of Puppeteer sets the stage, literally, for an unforgettable and dramatic (again, literally) adventure. The game starts with the villainous Moon Bear King kidnapping a boy named Kutaro, transforming him into a wooden puppet, ripping his head off and trapping his body in an evil black castleâ¦ on the moon. Weird, isn’t it? But it’s not that. Kutaro’s quest to find his head and escape the clutches of the Moon Bear King takes place on the stage of a magical puppet show, with mechanical sets, curtains, and a virtual audience that responds with joy, applause or horror to the events. that take place in front of them. It makes a lot more sense when you play it and the end result is really quite original and incredibly well done. The tone of the game goes from whimsical to dark in the blink of an eye (head?) And the developers distinguish between the classic Disney and Aesop’s Fables.
Kutaro doesn’t stay headless for long, as he quickly teams up with a puppet cat named Yin-Yang, the Moon Witch, and the Sun Princess to help him find a new head and show him the tricks of the trade. He also quickly encounters a pair of enchanted scissors that serve as his weapon, and learns of the existence of special moonstones and the guardians who control them. During his adventure, Kutaro can pick up a wide variety of new puppet heads throughout the game, from a knight’s or rocket’s head, to a taiko drum or a squid’s head, although he cannot. hold that 3 at a time. Heads don’t provide Kutaro with any new power or movement per se, they serve more or less as a key to unlock new passages, make a stage easier to go through, or unlock a bonus stage. Heads also serve as a life counter, and getting hit by an enemy or obstacle causes Kutaro’s current head to bounce for a few moments, giving him a chance to pick it up. If he loses all three heads, Kutaro is sent back to the final checkpoint in exchange for a continuation, which is earned by collecting 100 Moon Shards. Do you always follow me ? Good.
As mentioned earlier, Puppeteer’s game mechanics are definitely unique (it’s hard not to use the word to describe the game). Sure, Kutaro can run and jump, but using his magic scissors, he can attack enemies and basically hover in the air while slicing up objects or enemies made of cloth or paper. The cutting mechanic takes some getting used to and is honestly unlike anything I remember playing in a platform game. The inventive stages and backdrops paired with these scissors create incredibly interesting and memorable puzzles and boss fights. Combine that with a trio of new abilities that are obtained by taking down certain bosses and locating a moonstone, and you’ve got an impressive variety of abilities, many of which are used in equally unique ways.
In addition to all of these gameplay elements, there is a cooperative ‘partner’ which can be controlled using the right analog stick and trigger, or by another player using a second controller, or preferably, a PlayStation Move controller. This partner (usually Yin-Yang or the Sun Princess) serves as a floating, invincible cursor and can interact with the environment to locate heads and moon shards, clear obstacles, or harass enemies and bosses in an effort to ‘help Kutaro. These cooperative mechanics add yet another distinctive layer to the gameplay and it all kind of finds a way to fit together beautifully. Juggling all of these is pretty easy to deal with in solo, although I would definitely suggest that a second player take control of the partner with a Move controller. Having a second pair of eyes and hands to discover and collect useful items and / or clear obstacles and enemies to a certain extent streamlines the flow of the game, and it’s also a lot of fun.
Puppeteer may look childish at first, but it’s by no means child’s play. The game takes place in 7 acts, each with 3 âcurtainsâ (levels) and features a comfortable mix of platforming, puzzle solving, and epic boss encounters. The game sets up a challenge even though the checkpoint system is fair and it is almost impossible to run out of continuous. Average gamers should take 7 or 8 hours to complete the game for the first time, and with a fair amount of hidden items, unlockables such as storybooks, and distinct heads to locate, there are definitely a certain incentive to replay the steps.
As unique as the gameplay is, the creative visuals featured in Puppeteer are sometimes mind-boggling, both technically and stylistically. As touched on before, the game takes place on what looks like a stage with wooden puppet-like characters and mechanized props that snap into place when the curtain rises. The tough theater spotlights that follow around Kutaro and the layered sets provide a compelling three-dimensional illusion even without a 3D capable set and glasses (which the game supports, and I imagine, is amazing). The effects, animation and overall picture quality in Puppeteer are simply magical and really must be seen in person or on the move to fully appreciate.
Puppeteer’s sound design makers should also win some sort of award because they did an outstanding job completing the illusion. The virtual audience, fun voice work, storytelling and script, as well as theatrical music all sync up perfectly with the style of the game. The audio presentation adds a lot to the whole and it is not difficult to enjoy the game. ‘effort that the developers have put into this aspect.
Even with Rayman Legends and Grand Theft Auto V likely consuming a lot of gamers’ time, it would be a video game crime to neglect Puppeteer. It’s one of the most original and addicting games of the year – on any platform – and for $ 40 you can’t go wrong.