A Breath of Fresh Air
Background: Magical… Different… Puppeteer is a unique and charming game. Your journey through the game will take you to many locations, all set on a fictional moon-world. What is so special about Puppeteer is how much you will want to revisit these moon realms again and again to see and collect everything. Developed by Studio Japan and released on September 10th for the Ps3, it seems like not a lot of people know about this game. Hopefully you will read this and give it a try. It’s an experience like no other and deserves to be played by all gamers.
Story: Set on the moon, your journey as a young boy named Kutaro will have you up against a villain named the Moon Bear King. After stealing special moonstones owned by the moon goddess (if you can’t tell, the game does not take itself very seriously), the Moon Bear King’s goal is to steal the souls of Earth’s children, turn them into his puppet slaves, and wreak havoc on the moon itself. The story itself isn’t the greatest, but the wit and charm of the dialogue are what steal the show. Each general (boss) that the Moon Bear King deploys after Kutaro throughout the game each have a unique and interesting personality to them. I found myself smiling at the writing throughout the game, which is a good thing. The story is meant to be fun and lively.
Gameplay: After being turned into a puppet and having his head bitten off by the MBK, Kutaro’s day didn’t start out on a high note. In order to get back his head, he, along with a help of the Moon Goddess and Witch, retrieves the MBK’s most powerful weapon: a magical pair of scissors called Calibrus. This weapon allows Kutaro to fight the King's puppets and release the souls trapped within, allowing them to escape back to Earth. As Kutaro flees the castle, the infuriated King commands General Tiger to pursue him and take back the scissors. Thus begins the start of the MBK's generals out to defeat Kutaro.
Callibrus itself is a great new gameplay tool and inserts a fresh new take on the good, but not great, platforming that Puppeteer already has. As a complete package this game is very fun. You’ll be required to collect heads and moonstones along the way, and collecting different heads becomes the most enjoyable part of the game. You’ll be able to unlock bonus stages using only certain heads, which almost always require a 2nd playthrough of that certain stage.
Speaking of stages, Puppeteer is set up like a puppet show. You’ll see curtains opening and closing with each level, which in turn is separated into three acts. A narrator speaks through the entire game, and although humorous and enjoyable at times, it becomes overkill after a while. Also, the cut scenes sometimes tend to drag on more than I would want to, especially late in the game. Besides these very minor gripes, the gameplay satisfies greatly in Puppeteer.
Visuals: This is a pretty game. Not tech wise, but art direction, color pallet, and performance alike. Each of the 7 acts separate themselves into many different themes; such as Volcanoes, Halloween towns, the open seas owned by Pirates, haunted castles, and much more. Each theme is colorful and great to look at. Sound is also great, with a full orchestral score provided throughout. Puppeteer runs at a silky smooth 60 fps and suffers no lag or slowdown at all. Loading times are minimal.
Overall: It was easy to review this game, yet difficult at the same time. I’ve never played anything like Puppeteer, yet I’m so glad that I did. A wonderfully unique experience from start to finish, that shouldn’t be passed on by any gamer. I wish this game was on the Wii, 360, PC, and handhelds, as well as even next gen consoles so that everybody could experience what it had to offer. While not perfect, it accomplishes everything it sets out to due, and is what games should be: fun. Also worth to note the story will last from 10-12 hours on the first playthough, but extras and replayability are highly encouraged. As for price, it launched at just $40, and is currently $30 digitally and around the same in stores. I got it on a PSN sale for just $15, which is outrageously worth it. Whatever price you can grab Puppeteer at, if you're up for a new kind of game, you should enjoy the experience it has.
Value for Price: 9.0/10