Game Review: Puppeteer (PS3)
Remember the days when developers made amazing platformers by the dozen? Those were the days. Platformers are popular, yet developers and publishers have neglected the genre for more common ones. Sony started to get their feet wet in the platforming genre with the amazing LittleBigPlanet but Sony Japan Studio really knocked the ball out of the park with Puppeteer. Playing Puppeter brings back memories of those golden days of the SNES and Megadrive and all those amazing platforming games.
In Puppeteer you play as a boy called Kutaro who has his soul stolen by the Moon Bear King and has been turned into a puppet. Kutaro manages to lose his head and has to travel the world collecting new heads and finding allies to help him return to normal and go back home. Along the way Kutaro steals the Moon Bear King’s magical scissors called Calibrus to help him on his harrowing adventure. Calibrus helps Kuatro by cutting fabric and helping him reach longer distances. Also along for the ride with Kutaro is a magical cat called Ying-Yang. Ying-Yang is controlled with the right analouge stick and you need to use him to examine foreign objects, hidden objects and heads by pressing the R2 button. Oh did I mention all this is done on theater stage? That’s right. You move Kutaro but it’s really the background that is moving and it really is well done. It really makes you believe that it is a show in a theatre, if you leave it on the pause menu you will hear the narrator mention that they can buy refreshments and merchandise in the lobby and if leave Kutaro standing still and you can hear the audience get restless and start to murmur and cough in impatience.
There are over 100 heads to collect, but only some of them grant you with new powers. The Knight head gives you the power of defence, while the ninja head gives you bombs to blow up your enemies to pieces. Each of Puppeteer‘s dozens of heads has their own special action, though that action only matters at locations marked with an icon matching the head. Used in the right spots, heads can unlock bonus levels, reveal roulette wheels offering a chance to win prizes, or even let you bypass a boss fight. There are some creative heads you can collect, for example, you can unlock a ship head head on the sea level which you need have to do a special action by a bottle. You can only carry 3 heads at a time and they act like your health bar. If you get hit it will knock your head off, which you need to quickly recover or you will lose it. If you lose all 3 heads you will lose a life. You can get lives by collecting 100 Moon Gems which can be found by using Ying-yang and interacting with the back drops. You can’t access all the heads from the start and you will have to replay levels to unlock everything in the game.
The controls in Puppeteer are really well implemented. There is none of the floaty feeling that you have in LBP and the controls are really responsive. You start off just using the jump button, but once you progress through the game, you unlock more powers. You use the D-pad to change your head and use their powers, and use the square button to use Calibrus. Not only can it cut enemies to shreds, but by snipping the paper scenery with rhythm, Kutaro can also cross gaps or defy gravity and go to great heights. When fighting in boss battles there are some quick time events that you have to do to finish them off which can become a bit repetitive. The game supports 2 players, the second player is able to control Ying-Yang the magical cat.
Puppeteer is an amazing looking game and shows what the PS3 can do when developed for properly. You travel through exotic locations, like the desert while riding a snake and across the sea battling the waves. The backdrops burst off the screen (literally if you have a 3DTV) and the colors are vibrant and the props, stages and the puppets are really well done. The levels all play on well known stories which you will recognise straight away, examples being Alice in Wonderland and Pirates of the Caribbean and they all look amazing. The voice actors have done a really great job bringing the characters to life and when it comes to the jokes, they pull them off well. With world-famous composer Patrick Doyle (Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire) at the helm, Puppteeer’s soundtrack is top notch and really sets the mood for the story. If you pre-ordered the game, you will receive a free copy of the soundtrack.
All in all, Puppeteer is a story book experience which never stops giving. It’s a game that can be played and enjoyed by people of all ages. It is an excellent example of 2D platforming and once the curtain closes you will beg for an encore. The story is hilarious and it will have you laughing out loud. The length of the campaign is about 10 -15 hours, so you will get more than your money’s worth. Although I wouldn’t call it perfect, I can honestly say it’s really an amazing game which is a must buy.