Puppeteer PlayStation 3 Review
Peter Donnell / 10 years ago
This week I’ve been getting lost in the world of Puppeteer, the latest game from Sony Japan and what a magical week it has been! When the game first arrived in the office, I though nothing of it, a simple children’s game with cute graphics I thought… but I was wrong and I quickly regretted not picking it up and playing it sooner.
The development team at SCE Japan Studio have made some truly incredible games that span the entire PlayStation history, scaling right back to their debut title Ape Escape, one of the most innovative games of the PlayStation 1 generation. This was followed by their collaboration with Team Ico on the legendary titles that are Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, both regarded as some of the greatest games ever made, as well as their next title The Last Guardian. This follows onto the madness of LocoRoco, the mind bending Echochrome and the PlayStation 4 launch title Knack which is being directed by Sony’s own Mr Popular, Mark Cerny. Lets just say they have a pretty epic reputation and that gave me strong hope that Puppeteer would be something special.
The game takes place in a theatre, or should that be the story is played out on a theatres stage and you’re the main star! The stage doesn’t move, but the set is ever-changing, rather than your typical side scrolling adventure the game acts like a real life play (if a little more over the top), so things are on strings, set pieces roll in and roll away as you move around. Between acts the whole scene can flip and turn around to reveal a new setup, or of course we can drop the curtains and do a full change over. The effect is absolutely flawless and it gives a real and somewhat magic feel to the presentation with graphics that puts a smile on your face.
The theatre settings demands a good sound track and it certainly gets one thanks to the talented Patrick Doyle, a famous composer who has worked on everything from Harry Potter, to Carlitos Way in his time. The music flows dynamically and really sets the tone for the game, it’s the next best thing to having an orchestra pit in front of your TV and if your fortunate enough to have a high-definition audio compatible surround sound system then you’ll be blown away by the depth and quality of the musical score as it provides all the sounds for the game world around you. The game is also backed up by a reacting audience, who gasp and cheer along with on screen events, adding an even more dynamic feel to the game.
While the musical score and audience makes the experience more entertaining, the best part has to be the superb voice acting. The whole game is narrated and it really helps keep the story moving along, but also makes you feel as much a part of the audience as it does the star of the show. Voice acting is full of larger than life characters and the slick animation and lively set pieces are enough to keep you playing through to the end.
The story focuses around a boy named Kutaro (that’s you), who through a course of events was turned into a puppet then had his head torn off! As you adventure throughout the game you have to find new heads, these can be anything from an up turned pot, to a banana, and each of them will give you new abilities to perform along the way that can unlock secret areas of the game, or solve puzzles that you stumble across. Kutaro must also use a magical pair of scissors and his new-found allies to fight against the evil Mood Bear King, recover his original head and return to his own home. It’s the usual unlikely hero, big old bad guy and a magical weapon formula.
Gameplay is that of a classic 2D platformer and it mostly boils down to using simple jump mechanics to dodge obstacles, some simple puzzle solving, item collection and exploration, which all sounds a little humdrum, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. The gameplay may be simple, but it’s not without its excitement and a good level of interaction with the crazy set pieces and plenty of weird and wonderful characters along the way to keep you entertained.
The gameplay is simple and fun, but when combined with the fantasy story, the dark and often black humour of the characters and set pieces, the gorgeous graphics and animation, it all adds up to a wonderful gaming experience. This gets even better if you’re able to play the game on a 3DTV. Since the main camera doesn’t actually move, the developers have been able to create some incredible depth and detail that you just can’t attain with movies since the camera needs to move and the focal point shifts with it. I don’t often play games in 3D, but Puppeteer is easily the best 3D gaming experience I’ve had to date.
- Impressive and original looking graphics and animation.
- A fantastic musical score.
- Faultless voice acting.
- Great story and gameplay.
- It looks a little obscure and that may put many off from trying it.
“I first looked at this game and thought it was for children, but there is a lot more depth to its world and humour that will entertain all ages, not only that but you can bring a friend into the mix for some local co-op too. I must still be a big kid at 29 years old, because I’m going to start all over again and play this game at least one more time.”
Thank you Sony for providing us with this sample.