Review by DominicanGlory

Reviewed: 01/02/14

Feed your imagination with this wonderful play , where you are in control.

"The industry needs more creative games, I'm tired of generic shooter #23543 and sequel #5657. Why can't something that has never been done come out anymore? "

I'm sure we've all heard this time after time on message boards, in conversations with friends and other venues, for the most part it's true. The industry has changed and it's not very common to see a company take risks with their projects and as a result we're left with games that are very enjoyable albeit very safe. Every once in a while a publisher has the guts to break the mold and try something unique, Nintendo did it recently with The Wonderful 101, Microsoft gave Crimson Dragon a chance and Sony enters the picture with Puppeteer. A beautifully realized game that is as much as a leap forward as it is a throwback.

Let's start by detailing the basic outline of the game. You're Kutaro, a child who has lost his soul to the Moon Bear King and is condemned to serve as a slave, but you're courted by The Moon Witch and your uprising to thwart the evil tyrant begins.

The game's story is nothing revolutionary, but the way it's presented is nothing short of amazing. Puppeteer's a play and you have an audience who will cheer your every heroic deed as well as gasp at your brushes with death. It helps bring the game to life and in that regard puts every 2D platformer on the market today to shame. The graphics are bright and bursting with color and detail, while the score is inspired by works seen in films like Beetlejuice and The Nightmare before Christmas. It's rather obvious that those works lent to some of the game's inspiration. The way the game's worlds keep changing on the fly is some of the best effects you'll ever see in a game like this. Hopefully, Studio Japan's work will inspire other developers and we will have more dynamic and lively levels in platformers to come.

The main gameplay mechanic revolves around Kutaro and his Excalibur Scissors and his pursuit of heads to substitute his own. Different heads perform different actions under specific designated areas, but ultimately this idea is underdeveloped and is squashed potential to me. I understand why they decide to keep the mechanic simple and straight forward but I can't help but think of what could have been. On the other hand, the scissors are great and you'll use them to cut enemies down to size as well as to help you traverse the rather lengthy levels (too bad there's not more of them) that the game has to offer.

Speaking of cutting enemies down to size, the game's bosses are fantastically designed and beating them is a joy. You have one in pretty much every level and they're pretty distinct, some levels even had two bosses in them. This is something that more games need to implement, boss fights give you a sense of progress and satisfaction and this game will provide it in copious amounts.

The game does admittedly start slow and I was worried that I wouldn't enjoy it as much as I had hoped for, but from Act 3 and on, it gets relentlessly better with every level. Kinda like the newer Mario platformers in that regard. I guess it's a way to ease in more casual players into the genre's mechanics and what not, still, for experienced players it's something we'll just have to deal with.

In conclusion, the game is very beautiful and fun to play. It's a budget release that unfortunately went largely unnoticed due to releasing alongside blockbusters and minimal advertising by the publisher. Regardless of that, it's destined for cult status and I recommend it to anybody with even a passing interest in platformers

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Puppeteer (US, 09/10/13)

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