Developer: Japan Studio
What they say: One dark moonlit night, a young boy named Kutaro was carried away by the maleficent Moon Bear King to a black castle where the unlucky lad was transformed into a puppet.
Kutaro displeased the terrible tyrant, who devoured the boy’s wooden head and cast away his body. But the headless hero was not alone, for he had discovered a very special pair of scissors to help him on his harrowing adventure to find his head, and his way home.
Puppeteer is a brand new franchise developed exclusively for PlayStation 3 by SCE JAPAN Studio. Set in a magical puppeteer’s theatre, this title will introduce you to a strange and fantastic world, where the environment is constantly changing. Players will enjoy a rich, dark fairytale where surprises lurk around every corner.
What I say: Are you a fan of the animated works of Tim Burton and Henry Selick? Have you ever thought to yourself; “Dude! It sure would be cool if I had a video game that had the style of those films and had a score that is Danny Elfman-ish!”
If that is the case then Sony Japan Studio has just made your dreams come true. Puppeteer is a dark gothic fairy tale and a classic style side-scrolling platformer. The story is presented as a stage play with curtain drops and scenery being switched out to properly reflect that flavor. The audience reacts to the events of the game and an implied orchestra swells really adding an immersive effect to the game. The story involves Kutaro, a young lad captured (along with a bunch of other kids) by the horrible Moon Bear King. After the King changes him into a puppet and takes his head, Kutaro is joined by a mysterious cal-like creature called Ying Yang. Ying Yang assists you until you rescue the Sun Princess Pikarina then she takes over as your number two. You and your partner along with a magical pair of scissors called Calibrus. Calibrus is essential to the games mechanics as it is used to cut away parts of the levels as well as the engaging boss battles.
The controls are great and work well. The left stick controls Kutaro, while your partner is controlled by the right stick if you are going solo. In two player mode Ying Yang and Pikarina are controlled by either a Dual Shock 3 or a Move controller. This is great especially if you have a child to play this with. They can experience the game with you without slowing you down. Your partner basically looks for secrets and shakes items in the background to find moonsparkles. If you gather 100 you get an extra life.
Kutaro also has many heads to choose from. While there are many, you can only carry three at a time and can cycle between them. If you take a hit you lose one and have to catch it before it fades. Heads can be just about anything from cheeseburgers to guns and lot more. There are over 100 to discover. Each head can be used to unlock various things like levels or a special event.They also act as your kind of hit points. The only problem is that it’s hard to know which heads to keep on hand as I frequently didn’t have the right head when it’s symbol came up on screen. But repeated plays take care of that.
The game consists of seven levels each with three “curtains” or sub levels. There is a wide variety of environments on the Moon that you will experience and the level design is fabulous on all of them. This game is very lush and detailed making discovering each one a real joy. Despite its dark look this is one of those great games that has something to offer all ages that want to experience this fine game. And God love Sony for continuing to buck trends and release cool quirky games like this. THe only thing I can figure out is where is the Vita version???