Posted on June 13, 2013 AT 10:00am
|Publisher||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Developer||SCE Japan Studio|
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With an aesthetic inspired by bunraku, a form of Japanese puppet theatre, Puppeteer is a quirky 2D platformer that follows the adventures of a boy named Kutaro. Kutaro has been transformed into a marionette, and had his head torn off by the Moon Bear King. Armed with a pair of magical scissors and the ability to pop on temporary replacement heads, he sets off on a quest to retrieve his real noggin and return home.
I’m pleased to report that Puppeteer is every bit as innovative, original, and charming as that wacky description up there probably made it sound. While the platforming is fairly tight, there’s so much going on here that extends the experience beyond the standard genre tropes. At one point during my hands-on demo, I was using the scissors to cut through paper clouds, allowing me to gain some forward and upward momentum so I could snip my way down the side of a massive dragon’s tail. In another, I was riding a flamingo across a field of exploding volcanoes, bouncing off hot air balloons and dodging spikes. In fact, just about every mechanic I encountered managed to change my preconceived notions about the game in some small way, like the way my scissors allowed me to hover across the screen by cutting my way across a group of paper clouds.
In a way, though, I almost felt like there was too much going on at any given point. There were a few moments when I felt overwhelmed by it all—and while I suspect that was due in large part to the fact that I was thrust into the middle of the game without much forewarning—I still think the onscreen action got a bit too busy for my tastes. I suspect I’ll have a somewhat different opinion once I start at the beginning and work my way up to the fancier stuff, but for now, I’m filing this one under “good, not great.”
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