Describe This Game in Three Words: Tim Burton wishes,
Plot: The tyrannical Moon Bear betrayed the queen of the moon, and took her kingdom for herself. Now he rules with a cruel fist, stealing the souls of sleeping Earth children in order to make them work for him as puppet slaves. Finally, a boy name named Kutaro stands against him with a magical set of scissors, and a truly remarkable adventure begins.
Up, Up: Of all the games I've ever received for review that I wasn't expecting nothing compares to Puppeteer. It's a truly ingenious game that's presented in a brilliantly one-of-a-kind manner.
The idea is that the game itself is a puppet show, and that though you control Kutaro throughout his struggle what we're seeing is a representation of what has already gone before. The wooden puppet art is astrounding, and the storytelling reminiscent of Nightmare Before Christmas That's the impression you most get while playing Puppeteer, that all those dark whimsical worlds that were promised to us back in the '90s were finally handed over to someone who would make it happen.
You play through the game collecting a variety of wooden heads to replace the one you lost when the Moon Bear ate it. These range from bats to skulls to bananas to guillotines. Collecting the heads is a big part of the play, as is freeing your fellow captives from various traps. The background is almost fully-interactive thanks to your ghost cat guide Yin Yang, and you'll always be finding tiny pockets of new things to explore throughout the quest.
Down, Down: The heads are neat and adorable, there's no doubt, but they don't actually do much besides serve as your life meter. Their abilities do little besides unlock secret areas, and because you can only carry three heads at a time you always seem to be short the head you need to unlock the secrets. This might help replay value, but it does feel a little contrived.
You control Yin Yang with one thumbstick and Kutaro with another. You Need Yin Yang to unlock things from the background, and as the game progresses it gets more and more difficult to manage finding everything with Yin Yang while doing your main questing as Kutaro. You can fix this by playing two-player though, and I can't recommend the game enough as a dual outing for kids for that reason.
Also, just a note for game makers from all us deaf bastards out there... you need to make subtitles able to be turned on before play starts, not after a host of exposition and cutscenes.
Left, Right, Left, Right: The game is fairly typical in regards to controls, with the dual character control being the main standout. It takes some getting used to, and frankly makes me think that this is one of the titles that would actually shine brighter on the Wii U. Not that it isn't perfectly playable on PS3, but the it honestly feels like Sony wanted to prove something to Nintendo.
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B, A: What I love about Puppeteer is the same thing I loved about Unfinished Swan, Journey, and Portal 2. It's a game that plays with the idea of gameplay itself. It turns the very act of controlling your character into an intangible part of the storytelling experience. This knack and innovation is something that is advancing the art of gaming the most
On a side note... I wonder if the idea of a puppet changing heads came from the Decapitron from Puppet Master 4 and 5. If yes, then this game wins the award for Most Awesome Movie Reference Ever.
Start?: It's a light-hearted surprise of a game that you should absolutely try out. It's inventive, whimsical, and most of all fun. There's not much like it out in the world of gaming. I say pick it up immediately.