Iggy’s World Halloween Month: Puppeteer
As Halloween looms ever closer, yet another review from the RPG crew dawns upon yee. I’ll just get this right out of the way, puppets freak me out. Most human puppet designs are freaky plus how they move just messes with my head. So of course I simply had to play a game where the setting is a puppet show. So what exactly does this PS3 exclusive have in store for this puppet fearing gamer? Well for that answer we have to go to the moon!
The story of Puppeteer centers around a young abducted lad turned puppet named Kutaro. It’s up to him to stop the tyrant Moon Bear King by taking back all the broken moon shards to restore the Moon Goddess to her full glory. With the help of Excalibur which are like scissors, plus a witch with her own motives, and a smart mouth Sun Princess. A simple plot of heroism, a story fit for puppet show! One of the best aspects of this game is that the story is actually a puppet show with the player as the puppeteer for Kutaro. The story frequently breaks the fourth wall which in some cases can break a players immersion but here it enhances it. It’s the most unique storytelling device I’ve seen for a game in my history. It also helps that the writing is equally charming and hilarious with their characters and with their villains.
While the story itself is grand in scope, the puppet theatre backdrop is always there to remind the player that they in turn are watching a story. It’s almost as if the developers took this hint from Super Mario Brothers 3. The only downside to the story is that Kutaro is a mute leaving the exposition to the narrator and the rest of the cast.
The gameplay itself is a 2D platformer at it’s core with different level varieties along the way. There are seven acts with three curtains per act so in all 21 levels all together which is not very long when you consider other 2D platformers, but each stage has the right amount of length. It doesn’t hurt that the compelling music accompanies you along the journey. There are instances of terrible enemy placement, but lucky those are few and far between. Plus with this being a puppet show, the level back drops have the most design variety. One second you’re in a jungle, then a pirate ship, then a spooky Halloween town. Nothing feels repeated and each world brings their own unique challenges.
Kutaro himself is okay to control as. His jump is mediocre at best which makes certain platforming challenges a bit harder to pull off than they should be. Plus for some reason, after Kutaro runs he’ll randomly trip which will lead to most of your deaths. Luckily, most of the stages are designed so that Kutaro’s shortcomings won’t hurt your experience, but that’s not all Kutaro can do. As you progress, Kutaro will gain new moves or weapons that will help him achieve his quest. You can’t upgrade them but luckily they aren’t situational (except for one) and they add an extra layer to the combat.
What makes this game even sweeter are all the collectibles that one can obtain through out the journey. Well, only one collectible really and those are various puppet heads that Kutaro can switch out with the D-Pad. Most of them are cosmetic but some of the them will gain a player access to hidden bonus rooms or even cripple a boss. They aren’t mandatory and if you miss them your experience won’t be hindered.
To conclude this review, Puppeteer is a fantastic 2D platformer that doesn’t feel nor play like other 2D platformers. If you like a setting combined with unique bosses and a story we all can relate to, then this a game everyone should at least check out. Sure it’s not a “scary” game but there are moments of terror that could make young kids hide under the covers. Stop playing Destiny for a few seconds and play this hidden gem.
Puppeteer earns a 8/10