Papo & Yo (PS3): COMPLETED!

I renewed my PS+ subscription and upgraded my (full) PS3 hard drive, so picked this up for a rental. Thought I’d give it a try as I’d heard good things, but had no idea what it was about or the type of game it was.

As it turned out, it was a sort of platform puzzler where the events of the game are actually some sort of dream (or something) metaphor, where the main character has what appears to be an alcoholic father who has killed someone by running them over. Or something. That’s what it seemed to me, anyway.

It’s set in what appears to be a deserted Rio de Janeiro shanty town, with chalk cogs, keys and other items that you can activate to open areas, move buildings and make other absurd things happen. Your dad is seen as a lazy, but benign monster, who you convince to move around by tempting him with coconuts, and using his fat belly as a trampoline when he falls asleep.

Sometimes, the puzzles will involve giant frogs, which you can pick up and throw against walls to get rid of them. Or let the monster eat them which will cause him to turn into a flaming demon who hunts you down and flings you round like a ragdoll. The frogs are obviously a metaphor for drink, you see.

None of the puzzles were especially difficult, but some were a bit frustrating due to the difficulty of making some of the platforming jumps. Could I not quite make the jump because I was doing it wrong, or was it that I shouldn’t be able to make the jump and I need to find a different route? It wasn’t always clear. Some platforms which appear to be reachable are actually behind an invisible wall, and twice I fell down between two walls and was unable to escape. There was a puzzle early on which stumped me, because somehow not enough coconuts had spawned, so the monster wouldn’t go to sleep. Reloading fixed it though.

Papo & Yo was a short game, clocking in at under three hours, but was interesting and arty. In many ways, it reminded me of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It’s definitely worth a play, but you need to ignore some of the roughness and dodgy collision detection. Thankfully they don’t detract too much from the experience. Might want to bring some tissues with you, though.

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