Saturday, July 12, 2014

Demo Review: Papo and Yo. The monster inside my head.

So, this is my first game review, wish me luck. As of this review July 12th 2014, there is a flash sale on the PSN where several titles are on sale for 99 cents. Thus, I decided to take a look at several games, which I will relay my experience here on my blog. This first expedition into the unknown is a little story called Papo and Yo, which is apparently translated as Father and I. As long as this particular father does not wear a diving suit, have a drill, a rivet gun a rocket launcher or a laser gun I think we'll be okay.  Right away we start of with a quote about the developers family surviving the monster in their father. Sounds.... pleasant, and that statement is taken quite literally as we open on a boy named Quico hiding in a closet from what we can assume is his father while he is holding a toy robot.
Then from out of nowhere a white spiral drawing appears in the wall of the closet. Quico walks up to it, and then the wall spits him out onto a street while the drawing of his house on the wall behind him disappears. What a polite mysterious force. From there we are moved directly onto the game play and we walk into a series of square houses stacked on top of each other. From what I could find online this is set in a place called a Favela in a unspecified part of Brazil.

From there we encounter a mysterious girl that creates a door on the wall and after she sees us goes through it like in Chalkzone or Gumby, so after seeing that bit of hell magic we decide to follow her, for no reason. Okay I already have several questions, there does not seem to be any reason why we are doing this, does Quico recognize her? Is she a manifestation of the force that brought him to this world? Is this the outside world for him or some manifestation of his desire to escape his father? Is that represented in the buildings, is that why they look so jumbled and mismatched? How can he go through and manipulate the landscape? Are there others who can besides the girl and me? Speaking of which, is there other people here in this world besides these two? Maybe we can figure this out as we go along so, why not? We then see what looks like a drawing of a lever on a wall and when I press the button I pull the lever and the wall pulls out with it and it creates a set of stairs!

Well that looks pretty cool, so I guess that that's how the rest of the puzzles in this game are going to work. This also does confirm that this is taking place in Quico's mind as he manipulates the world around him with various bits of magic to help him accomplish his goals. So then I come across a cardboard box with a question mark on it, so I press the button on it and instead of getting transported to Solid Snake or Mario he puts it on his head where we find that this is a help box which will tell you how to solve puzzles in case you get stuck, which as we go on later in the demo basically give away how to solve the puzzles, not that you need it. Most of the time the puzzles are literally push a button and then the world moves for you to get you to your next objective. From that this is most likely a game that puts more emphasis on story rather then game play which I don't really have that much of a problem with if the story is good enough and well, I'll ride it out and see how it goes. So I keep going and after I cause a building to crash after jumping on it, stretching out another one like an accordion into a set of stairs, make five buildings floating in mid air to form a bridge by picking up cardboard boxes with windows drawn on them we finally run into the girl again. O_O did I really just say that? Maybe we can come across more sane things in this game, we can hope :3 Now the girl walks off again and then we turn some knobs on some houses and they skitter away like bugs. Well, never mind sanity then. So then I climb up a building and I finally find the girl crouching near a wall. I come up to her then the floor sinks around me and I see that apparently Quico thinks it is a good idea to chase a car in the middle of the street, especially since the path that is laid out for me seems to be in front of the car. So after that the floor goes back up, I confront the girl, she says I'm cursed, throws me off the building and then I get saved by my toy robot that has somehow come to life and is flying and talking. I would call him Clack but sadly he does have a name, Lula. Better then nothing I guess. So then he saves me and I find that I have lost my school jacket and one of my shoes. So I guess that like in Prince of Persia the further I progress in the game the more articles of clothes I lose? Um no, especially considering I am playing as a child, no just no.
Moving on. We catch up to Lula and he tells me that we have to find Monster. WHAT? Okay from a general experience and just from plain common sense whenever someone tells me that I have to find a monster that can only mean two things. One, I have to kill it, or two, the guy is going to feed me to it. If I had the option I would just run away from the demonically possessed toy that is trying to lure me to something that may want to eat my face. But of course since there is literally no other way out aside from the on/off switch on my PS3 I guess I have no choice. I find Robo Kyubey and he tells me I can use him to get across ledges, and he's right as I can use him to double jump across ledges and hover for a few seconds. Maybe I made my Ratchet and Clank reference too soon. In any case we can use Lula to solve new puzzles and as we do I noticed that the soundtrack is really picking up. I know I haven't talked about the soundtrack all that often since I think you really should hear it for yourselves. Also since no matter what I say it will be pointless since you can't hear it, but it really is pretty good, this soundtrack was composed by Brian D'Oliveira and this particular score like any good one seems to fit the setting of the game. If you don't play this game then at least check out the soundtrack on Youtube. Back to business, now we are back to the bug building area and we are being transported to a new area on the back of a house that has turned into a giant spider like creature. Oh wow, now this is really cool. The best words I can use to describe this game is that it really reminds me of a Studio Gibli movie, with fantastical elements happening in what looks like a normal everyday location, more specifically Howls Moving Castle. Oh do you think that Batman will show up? I doubt it but we can hope. So we get the bug, bus, building, thing to drop me off, we solve more puzzles and then we come to the end of the Demo where we are in a pipe, it is starting to shake and we see a shadow walking on top of the pipe we are in and it looks like the monster that Quico was hiding from in the beginning of the game and the screen cuts to black.

 So that was the Demo for Papo and Yo. Well this definitely looks like an interesting little game that you can immediately tell comes from a personal place for the developer Vander Caballero. The puzzles themselves are rather simplistic from what I saw, but that is mostly because I looked at the hint boxes, so if you actually want something of a challenge I would recommend avoiding those unless you really get stuck. I personally am going to keep going just to see where this ends since well hey I got it for 99 cents why the hell not? But for those who want a more challenging puzzle game with equally good design and score I would recommend Journey or The Unfinished Swan if you haven't picked those up already. Or at the very least watch a lets play of this game on Youtube. Be forewarned the game has a tendency to slow down in the frame rate and I from other reviews apparently there are some game breaking glitches. There has been a patch released since it came out in 2012 and I think that may have fixed the glitches but be careful nonetheless. But for the rest of us including me I will continue to journey of a boy and his monster in his own mind.

"Papo and Yo" was released on August 14, 2012 and is available on PSN and Steam 

"Papo and Yo" is owned by Minority Studios and Sony Computer Entertainment All other rights are reserved for their creators. 

"To Catch a Predator" is owned by NBC Studios.