by Tim Bagwell on August 23, 2012 @ 6:17 pm
From developer Minority Media Inc. comes the emotional story of Papo & Yo. It is a dark autobiographical tale about a boy named Quico and his best friend, Monster, filled with heart-breaking symbolism describing the complicated relationship of a boy and his father who is battling alchoholism. The character Quico represents Minority Media Creative DirectorVander Caballero as a boy as he stuggles to help his father, depicted as Monster, overcome his alchohol consumption, which is cleverly represented by poisonous frogs. When Monster consumes the frogs, he becomes enraged and abusive, and the tormented Quico embarks on a quest to find a cure for his best friend from a shaman.
Gameplay-wise, Papo & Yo is a puzzle filled platformer that requires you to cooperate with Monster to advance through strategic puzzles. At times the player will need the help of Monster to solve a puzzle, while other times the player will be running for his life due to Monster’s frog induced rages. Pick up a box to place on a switch and a house in the game world will grow legs or sprout wings and move to help you advance. I found the puzzles the game throws at you to be cleverly done but not overly hard to figure out either. The game provides hint boxes that will help you along if you do get stuck so worry not over-thinkers! The only gripe I really had with the gameplay centered on a few bugs I encountered during my playthrough. Technical issues — such as falling through the game world hampered the experience from time to time. Fortunately, you won’t find yourself losing hours of progress due to these bugs, as there’s an autosave function that saves progress at frequent intervals. A quick reload solves all. In any case, it’s clear the title could have used a little more QA work. Perhaps a patch down the road will fix this.
The music in Papo & Yo is a real high point in the game. From serene tranquil moments with Monster, to Monster at his worst, everything just sounds right. I personally found myself stopping throughout the game to listen to the different arrangements and considering the intense subject matter behind the inspiration for the game the music conveyed the emotional aspects of Papo & Yo perfectly. I’m really hoping for a soundtrack release from Minority Media so fingers crossed!
I have enjoyed my time playing Papo & Yo and think you will too. As much as the game is a decent platformer with some interesting puzzles it is, for me, all about the story. The inspiration behind the game was the sole reason I wanted to review Papo & Yo. I grew up with a Monster of my own. In some ways I’m better for it and I commend Vander for having the heart to tell his story. This game belongs in your PSN collection. Papo & Yo is the first game from Minority Media and I for one look forward to future titles from them!
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