3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2014
The Puppeteer looks like what would happen if Rayman, Little Big Planet and Super Mario all had a threesome romp. The game, fundamentally, is a platformer (jumping, ducking, rolling, collecting shiny things etc.) but with near unmatched production values. Graphically the game is superb, opting for the cartoonish charming visuals akin to titles such as Little Big Planet or Rayman, as mentioned above.
The game takes places in a theatre setting. Each chapter begins as the red curtains open to cheers (and sometimes jeers) from the unseen audience and the game quickly adopts an over-the-top pantomime-style asthetic which will have you grinning whether you want to or not. With an aching amount of detail in each stage and secrets and collectibles to find, The Puppeteer will keep the willing gamer busy long after the curtain has fallen. Added in is a typical fairy tale storyline where good struggles against opression and evil in order to save a kingdom from tyranny, a wonderful cliche which feels right at home in this Grimm-esque theatrical world.
Aside from some minor difficulties at the beginning of the game getting my jumping technique down, the controls are minimalist yet empowering for the player allowing you to perform wonders on screen with very simple button combinations (even my 4 year old is having a blast with this).
All in all, a great game whether you're young or old. A charming and beautiful addition to my collection and one I recommend completely. 9/10 overall, and, Let the Show Begin!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 1 October 2013
I had been looking forward to Puppeteer since it was announced. When it finally arrived I was overjoyed; upon playing the first thirty minutes I was distraught - it seemed so clunky! But don't worry, once you get used to the controls and mechanics it is a grower.
You control Kutaro, a boy stolen from sleep and transported to the moon by the wicked Moon Bear King. Upon arrival, his head is devoured and his body discarded! But fear not, a witch and her pet cat take pity on you and find you a substitute head - one of a hundred or so in the game. With your new noggin securely attached you must traverse the moon in search of Moonshards that are guarded by a medley of huge, animal-themed bosses. Once these are collected, you can piece the Moonstone back together and return the moon to normal by dethroning the Moon Bear King.
Graphically the game is breathtaking. The whole idea for the game is that you are watching a pantomime unravel through a theatre setting; each level starts and finishes with the curtains opening or drawing closed. The theatre theme allows for some unique enemy designs and attacks - cutting a snake apart via the seams that hold it together internally is certainly intuitive and cleverly conceived. The game harks back to many titles of yesteryear - remember Ghouls and Ghosts where you'd traverse every landscape imaginable? Deserts, a stormy sea, an icy landscape, a spooky forest? Expect to see all of these settings and more in Puppeteer, each as lovingly sculpted as the last. The game sounds great, too; rousing orchestral tunes that fit the settings of each stage perfectly - the pirate-themed level stands out for me the most; it has a perfect sea-shanty-style ditty that fits the theme brilliantly. The watching crowd will cheer when you do something worthy, boo the bad guys and oooh-and-ahhh as you leap or fly fearlessly through the stages.
One thing that I didn't enjoy (others will surely disagree with me here) was the constant voice-overs from the commentator and secondary characters - Pikarina is particularly annoying, with her whining, pseudo-American accent. During the levels they can prove useful, pointing out areas of interest or giving hints, but they quickly become irritating during cut scenes as the monologues go on far too long and become steadily more incomprehensible. The cut scenes are, for the most part, overly long as well and just as unintelligible - there is one battle scene between the pirate captain Gaff and the two bovine enemies he faces that I thought would never end. Things do pick up near the end, when the story is drawing to a close but I honestly enjoyed my second playthrough a great deal more as I was able to skip through the drawn-out cut scenes.
The game is an old-school 2D platformer with full 3D graphics. You leap across chasms, collect Moonsparkles (similar to Mario's coins or Sonic's rings) in order to gain extra lives and rescue souls by killing enemies. The controls are simple enough (jump, attack, duck, etc) but take some getting used to initially. Within the first few levels of the game I was mistiming jumps and falling to my death quite regularly - Kutaro has quite a small leap when compared to other 2D platformers of this ilk. Given a little time, though, you will master them, even if certain jumps within the game remain difficult to judge. You can also control your secondary characters (Ying-Yang the cat or Pikarina the sun princess) with the right analogue stick. Searching the background and scenery of each stage with these characters will yield Moonsparkles and other rewards such as new heads and humorous interactions between characters.
As you progress through the game you will unlock a weapon - a pair of scissors called Calibrus - and five special abilities - a hookshot, a bomb, a body-slam, a flying scissor boost and a shield. We have most of the special abilities before (in Zelda games, for example) but the scissors offer a unique twist. With them, Kutaro can cut through fabrics and enemies allowing him to fly - as long as there is more material for him to cut through. Mastering this skill is essential for progressing the game's latter stages and defeating the game's many bosses. The scissors also offer a myriad of unique ways to dismember your enemies - the way you take apart the final boss is especially creative.
There are about 100 heads to collect throughout the game. Each one has a unique special ability that can be used in certain stages to either make the level marginally easier or to unlock bonus stages. Some of the heads are rather imaginative, but their skills are used sparingly - you could make it through the game with only the very first head you receive without any problems. The only reason to go and collect them all is if you are a completionist or want to mop up a few additional trophies (like I did). Be warned, however, that there are certain trophies that require you to use a second joypad; you can unlock these by playing with both yourself but it can get a bit complicated at times!
My first playthrough lasted around the 10 hour mark - this is substantially shortened if you skip the cut scenes. A second playthrough is required in order to unlock all of the games secrets and find heads that you were unable to collect first time through. A second playthrough is highly recommended; as I've already stated I enjoyed the game more the second time through. You'll get more than enough play time out of the game if you aim to collect all collectables and trophies.
For the price Puppeteer is available for it is definitely worth taking a chance on. If you like 2D platform games you can't really go wrong. Every aspect of the game has been lovingly created and there are plenty of nods to classic titles such as the aforementioned Ghouls and Ghosts and more modern releases such as Rayman Origins/Legends. If you go in prepared for some mind-boggling cut scenes and some nonsensical set pieces, I'm confident you will find a lot to like in this game!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2014
This game is so original and such a joy too play, its amazing that games like these go unnoticed without an advert or any kind of information unless you are a person that reads gamming site mags you would never even no that these games even existed!! As much as I love sony and what they do to provide a platform for gamming companies I don't understand why they would take on a project such as this and fell too market such a wonderful game, these games are a refreshing change and a beacon into what direction we should be heading, it makes no sense putting money into something ( sony!! :-( ) just to turn your back on it? Promote these games properly, Graphics are beautiful and if you have a 3d tv its mind blowing in fact like trine2 3d is the best way too play these types of games, gameplay is awesome and sound and creativity or just such a joy I can't but this game down.
The trouble is that the market is so saturated with 1st person shooters and now the standard open world game types that real games with character and originality are becoming relics when in fact we need more of them, I'm not saying that those games aren't great to play we just have so many of them that the single player campaign are just so similar year after year and now the focus seems too be on online play only? gone or should I say going are the times when games used too be games instead of training camps lol :-)
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 22 October 2013
Every once in a while, a game comes along that totally re adjusts your perspective on the entire gaming horizon. These games just seem to tick every box, do everything right, and in short knock our socks off. The Puppeteer does that, and not only does it well, it could even be considered the best this generation of consoles can offer.
The Puppeteer. Heard of it? No you probably haven't as in the current gaming climate all the talk is about GTA, COD, Battlefield and what the next generation of consoles will do to make the same crap look just a bit prettier and try to convince us all " its new ". But, if you pause, just for a minute, bring your head down from the future and just enjoy what can be had now, you may miss one of the most magical, exciting, FUN and stunning piece of art on a digital screen ever!
You see the Puppeteer is like an award winning Disney film. It transcends all ages so everyone can come away with a light heart and a smile on their face after spending time with it. It's basic enough for young children to be fascinated with, with the castles, witches, pixies and so forth, but highbrow enough that adults can laugh at the humour also.
So what exactly IS the Puppeteer? Well, to say it's a "plat former" is a disservice. You play as a character called Kutaro who is a wooden puppet with interchangeable heads. Your quest is to save the children's of the world souls from the evil Moon Bear King who wants to rule the universe. To defeat the Moon Bear King you have to collect each of the moonstone shards from the Moon Bear Kings general's.
And so starts your journey. To help you do this you have a pair of scissors named "calibrus". Calibrus, can chop down enemies, and cut through objects, but also can help you get from a to b even if those points are off the ground by chopping your way up to them. Other powers are bestowed upon Kutaro as your epic adventure unfolds, like a shield, hook and slam. You use all these powers in various ways to traverse the environment.
And what an environment it is! The scene is literally set as you play as though you're in the theatre watching the most fantastic puppet show you will ever witness. The voice acting and narration is utterly brilliant. The screen even has the outline of the stage, lights and curtains to give you a thespian; you're at the theatre feel.
But the backdrops! Oh the backdrops are stunning. The game doesn't hide the fact it's a puppet show with the backdrops all being propped up on sticks, but what's amazing about it all is it's all just achingly beautiful to look at with such clarity and detail. Bright, colourful, detailed, varied. The adventure will have you on pirate ships sailing the vast sea, a desert, a Mexican town, mountainous snowy peaks, jungles, castles, and of course, the final frontier, space! Each set piece is lavish in its design and artwork, and sometimes is only on screen for a scant few seconds before it's all replaced with yet another stunning beauty!
The game is for this day of age, pretty long too. It's divided into 7 chapters (called acts) and each Act is split into three chapters (called Curtains). Each curtain is at minimum 20 minutes worth of gameplay, or for some of the longer curtains, up to a whopping 45 minutes. During that 45 minutes the backdrops and sets will change many many times, so it's not just a case of the same theme, same look for all that time, OH no. Oh yes it is, Oh no it isn't! In fact one curtain could have up to around 25 to 30 beautifully crafted and thought out scenes.
The gameplay is also fantastic. It's a custom built engine for this game by Japan studio. Everything from the lighting to the physics is made for this game only and it shows. It's superbly smooth, works brilliantly, is fun to be part of and looks utterly fantastic. The lighting is especially standout as it manages to capture emotion and feel. The audio is also superb, down to the tiny details. There is even perfectly timed "ohhs" and "ahhhs" from the virtual audience you are supposed to be with, with rapturous applause at the games end. Even the end credits are entertaining and interactive!
On this journey, Kutaro is flung around the screen with reckless abandon. Massive set pieces to negotiate, huge boss fights, exciting chase sequences, stunning on rails sections, quick time events, puzzles, battles and timing, it's ALL here and paced to perfection.
Even when playing in 3D, the design of the game is set up perfectly. Not too garish to be a distraction and in fact designed to simply enhance the depth of the screen rather than shock you. There are moments where things pop out at the screen towards the player but it works wonderfully well. Even without 3D it's still gorgeous and perfect.
The story is a little trite, and possibly the weakest link to the whole game. It's sometimes difficult to follow who's actually speaking on screen as the animations for characters talking is a bit iffy at best. The movement for who is supposed to be talking is far too OTT. However if you turn the subtitles on, all soon becomes clear and then easy to follow.
Be that as it may, it's still an enjoyable plot with twists, turns, gasps of horror, laughter, love, and even time for some proper west end musical numbers, which all in all makes it utterly unique and joyous to behold and listen too from start to finish.
In short, every aspect of the game is breath taking and perfectly designed for maximum enjoyment.
The nearest game you could compare the Puppeteer to is Little Big Planet, but that's at a stretch and even if you do so, it's still putting the Puppeteer into a metaphorical box it doesn't deserve to be in. Although it's a platformer it does everything it can to not be exactly that. You'll be amazed at what places you'll end up for something you think is meant to be on a flat screen!
It kind of makes me sad, that games like this are so few and far between. We're inundated with the same boring commercially successful crap these days, from developers who have to play it safe due to pressures from the almighty publishers. How refreshing it is to play a game that brazenly stands up with an identity all of its own at the worst possible commercial time and says in a tiny voice, "This is what I am and I'm proud of it." The gaming industry would be better off with ten versions of the Puppeteer than ten versions of the same boring FPS, driving, or cover based 3rd person shooter.
This game is not just good, it's jaw droopingly stunning. It's not just game of the year good, its game of the entire generation epic! Move over Uncharted 2. Put the champagne on ice, The Last of Us. Park it back in the garage Gran Turismo.
The Puppeteer is game of the generation and when we all look back on the PS3 age, this will be the game that I think is worthy of the title of the PlayStation 3's finest hour.
Quite simply faultless entertainment for all the family. What this generation of gaming should have been like from the beginning.