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Puppeteer Review


Puppeteer is a fantastic new title from Sony Japan. At first glance it’ll no doubt remind you of LittleBigPlanet, however dig a little deeper and you’ll see that this is a title which is very unique in both style and gameplay. Puppeteer is in a world of its own, offering platforming as you’ve never quite seen it before.

The story of 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. 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. Can you defeat the evil Moon Bear King without losing your head?

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. Ying Yang makes way for other companions later in the game, although all that really changes in this respect is the personality of the character accompanying you rather than them bringing anything new in terms of gameplay.

Soon into the game, Kutaro gains a pair of magical scissors named Calibrus which allow him to cut through anything made out of paper or fabric as well as numerous items in the environment. This is where the game comes into its own as you face up against minions and larger boss characters which you must literally cut down to size. What I really love about Calibrus in particular is how useful and innovative it feels when you come up against some of the game’s end of level bosses. Here you’ll use a combination these powerful scissors and other abilities to take care of these tougher than usual enemies. This can involve slashing and cutting them while traveling up to their weak spots or even just combining bombs and using Calibrus to travel from one platform to the next, while dodging sinking platforms and enemy attacks. To compliment Calibrus, Kutaro also gains a shield which he can use to block and deflect enemy attacks, as well as a few other powers, although we’ve got to keep some things secret.


To add another twist, Calibris can be also used to travel within levels - and in any direction too. This sees our hero cut through all manner of objects such as clouds, leafs and more in order to get across platforms and climb vertically up trees and more, giving a unique twist to the traditional feel of the platformer. Travelling through levels in this way really does make the game feel different, and when combined with the usually platformer style of jumping and avoiding enemies, really makes the game stand on it's own.

The levels themselves are wonderfully designed, starting off quite simple and providing an experience like most platformers, before changing completely, having you cut your way along large gaps, gliding through the air with only your magical scissors keeping you afloat. You’ll have to overcome many obstacles, such as large frogs which you’ll need to blow up with bombs, a large snake which itself acts as a platform as well as numerous other challenges which will keep you on your toes. No matter what stage you find yourself in yourself in, it’ll be an ever changing environment which is always challenging.

As well as having to negotiate the various stages, you’ll also need to keep an eye out for bonus stages, which reward you with even more adventure. The bonus stages are unlocked by pressing down on the d-Pad when you see a head symbol flashing on screen. To enter these levels you’ll have to use the head which matches up to the one flashing. Bonus levels provide you with a great way to collect Moonsparkles and also provide a different challenge from the main game. All unlocked bonus levels are replayable in the game menu, adding some longevity to the game.

Puppeteer is 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 review.

We all like a huge game and Puppeteer is certainly that. It'll no doubt keep you going for at least 12-15 hours, which is pretty impressive. What's even better is that the game is as varied as it is long, you'll certainly not be complaining about repetitive gameplay as the developer seems to throw in all manner of obstacles and variation in levels to keep you hooked.

I say this with no string attached, Puppeteer is an excellent platformer, providing a wonderful, varied experience. It's one of the most unique titles this year and in my opinion, one of the most fun too. If you have a PS3, give Puppeteer a try and don't let one of the year's most original games pass you by.

(Version Tested: PS3)

Pros

+ Lengthy Gameplay
+ Wonderful Presentation
+ Fantastic Acting/Sound
+ Varied Level Design

Cons

+ I can't think of any

Edited On 06 Sep, 2013

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