Two heads are usually better than one and in the case of Sony’s latest quirky Platformer, Puppeteer, this saying has probably never been more true. In fact the more heads you manage to gather, the better it’ll be all round.
Ok, so the above paragraph makes no sense whatsoever, but as soon as you pop Puppeteer into your PS3 it will.
Puppeteer sees you taking control of a boy named Kutaro, who has been turned into a puppet and had his head torn off by the evil Moon Bear King. Throughout the adventure you’ll wander the wonderfully artistic levels, finding various heads to substitute for your own (see it makes sense already). Each head that you find along the way has its own unique ability which can be activated at certain points in the game. Heads basically act as lives, so as soon as they run out you’ll have to restart at the last checkpoint. Luckily you can put your head back on again should it fall off, although you’ll have to act quickly.
As you get further into the first act, Kutaro also gains a pair of magical scissors named Calibrus which allows his to cut through and move along anything made out of paper or fabric. This is where the game comes into its own as you come up against minions and larger boss characters which you must literally cut down to size. To compliment Calibrus, Kutaro also gains a shield which he can use to block and deflect enemy attacks, making for one powerful puppet.
Accompanying Kutaro on his journey is Ying Yang, a ghostly cat who helps gather heads and uncover Moonsparkles, the game’s token collectables which can be exchanged for an extra life should you manage to gather 100. Interestingly, Ying Yang can be controlled by the right stick, or if you have a friend around, can be controlled using an extra controller, which helps give the game its social aspect.
When you combine all of the above, it makes you realise that there isn’t really another game out there like this. It’s unique in almost every way. The platforming aspect sees you cutting your way through material to climb up and across levels, cut objects free from their bonds and use your head’s various powers to gain Moonstreaks and extra heads, as well as finding your way in the numerous hidden bonus levels.
Although the Platforming aspect is way out there, what really makes Puppeteer stand out from the crowd is its unique style. At first glance you’d not be considered a fool for thinking that the geniuses at LittleBigPlanet creator, Media Molecule, were behind this game, although you’d still be wrong. Puppeteer is the sole work of Studio Japan and it’s an incredible beautiful looking title with story telling that will have your children glued to the screen. I’d describe it as a mix between a puppet show and a pantomime as the incredibly over the top evil villains try to stop our hero from saving the captured souls of the other children and find his way home. It’s compelling stuff and not for one minute could my own kids take their eyes off the screen as I played the game for the purpose of this preview.
It has to be said that the only downside I can see to Puppeteer so far is that it doesn’t arrive until September. Decent Platformers seem to have fallen by the wayside in recent years thanks to the FPS genre taking hold and making its mark, however based on what I’ve played of Puppeteer so far, the platormer could be about to make a bit return. You should be excited for this one, very excited. Just do me one favour and don’t lose your head.