Puppeteer

April 2, 2016

 

Puppeteer is a platforming game released exclusively for the PlayStation 3 in 2013. It received glowing reviews and It's really one of those hidden gems that's passed under the radar of many people—including myself. So the entire game takes place in a puppeteer theater and instead of the screen scrolling to the right as most platformers do, Puppeteer has you transition from one stage set to the next as you progress though the Acts(each chapter has 3 Acts). The altering of the sets is virtually seamless, the stages change from one to the other without any hiccups or frame-rate issues, which is important for a game such as this because the entire focus is to keep you engaged in the constant dialogue and flowing story.

 

The games' animations have a deliberate jaggy puppet movement to them, some move as if they are controlled by strings from above and others have poles attached to their limbs or torso from below; combined with the gorgeous lighting effects and handmade looking aesthetics, Puppeteer brings the look and feel of a diorama to your living room.  Probably the most impressive aspect of the game has to be the voice acting, the performances are truly outstanding, every character has their own distinct dialect, whether it's the mystical floating cat that pronounces certain words like magic(meoww-gic) in his Igor voice or the wisecracking, charismatic Pikarana switching between a helpful aid to arguing with the narrator in her valley girl voice about the plot details(very entertaining). The entire cast is diverse, dramatic and joy to listen though, I personally haven't experienced anything like it in another game.  Another nice touch is that the audience will cheer, laugh, and applaud depending on the occurring scene; it adds yet another element to make the game feel like a theatrical experience.

 

I know there is some criticism of the lack of gameplay and compared to traditional platformers it is lacking somewhat. There aren't many enemies in the game and most of them you see over and over again. There is a highlight in the gameplay though and it's the colorful boss fights, there are plenty of them and they're fun—albeit simple. Most of them amount to using the Calibrus(magical scissors you see on the cover) to cut the material on them or around them, using bombs to hit their weak points, or use you shield to deflects enemy projectiles. But if you're looking for a game that's heavy on narritive and unlike anything out there; charming and entertaining until the very end, give Puppeteer a try.

Finally.. to the music! Another fantastic piece of the game. There is everything from Western, Horror and Epic songs to underwater sing-a-longs(this isn't Kingdom Hearts II, don't worry!). The vocal songs are actually a lot of fun and well written, even the narrator gets involved. It comes very close to what you would hear in some of the great animated films over the years(with slightly more sarcasm). While there hasn't been an Official Soundtrack Released, there was a soundtrack given to those who pre-ordered the game early. Thankfully, I came across a copy but It turns out that it's missing some songs, most noticeable is the Chapter Select but the sing-a-longs, boss battles and a few others were left out as well. So, I'm going to upload them as additional tracks once I have a chance.

 

For now, enjoy Puppeteer.

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