The charming kid friendly game, Puppeteer, provides fun for PlayStation 3 players of all ages.
STEPPING into the magical world of Puppeteer is like watching a children’s story book come to life.
It is a most rare and unusual setting that takes you back to being a child and watching a new world unfold before you.
Puppeteer is a platforming game at heart but it puts its own unique spin on the genre with a charming visuals and great level of detail and great animation.
Every moment of the game holds something new, beautiful and refreshingly imaginative.
The game is presented like a puppet theatre with gangly animated characters that dance across the screen, held up by strings.
The story unfolds like a classic fairy tale, where there is a young boy named Kutaro whose soul is trapped in the body of a puppet by the evil Moon Bear King.
Along the way you will meet all manner of characters including witches, princesses and villains to vanquish.
The game carefully treads the path of being slightly dark, though it has more in common with say a Studio Ghibli film.
Off with his head
Just as we are introduced to our valiant hero, Kutaro’s head is bitten off by the Moon Bear King and he is thrown into the dungeon to rot.
As Kutaro has lost his head — literally — he needs to find new ones to stay alive in the game. Get hit by an enemy and your head flies clean off, and you are given a few seconds to retrieve it.
You are limited to carrying just three at any given time, though each has a unique power that can be activated to help you navigate through a stage or even open up a hidden bonus level.
The grand adventure that follows next takes you across lots of different lands from snow capped mountains, deep oceans and dusty plains.
Everything from the music, voice acting and level design is extremely well done. The actors deliver their line with much gusto and the quality is far above that of your average Saturday morning cartoon series.
The controls are a bit floaty and take some getting used to, but we managed to get a hang of it after half an hour.
The game keeps things interesting as you will be compelled to find all the heads and secrets in a level. Needless to say this encourages multiple playthroughs. Adding to that, you can enlist the help of a second player to help you along in fast paced sections of the game or if you are having trouble in a particular stage.
It is not all about platforming and jumping though. Once you find the magical scissors, Calibrus, you are given even greater choice and abilities.
Using the scissors you can manipulate the environment, cut through objects to boost yourself above ledges or as a weapon to cut enemies to shreds.
The scissors also help out during the game’s highly inventive boss fights that combine careful timing and use of your magic scissors to defeat the villains that stand in your way.
Progress further and you will gain other powers like a knight’s shield, ninja mask, hook and many others.
Puppeteer is more than your average game — the wonderfully inspired design of the game alone is worth the price of admission.
It is something that even a child watching you play can enjoy, thanks to the lively and over the top characters. That is not to say that it is a game designed only for kids — adults too will have a good time appreciating the humour and new challenges each level brings.
This is an instant classic that definitely deserves a place among your collection of PS3 games.
Pros: Great visuals; charming characters and voice acting; imaginative world.
Cons: Slow start; cut scenes in the middle of stages sometimes lengthy.
(SCE Japan Studio)
Platforming game for PS3
Rating: 4 stars
Review copy courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment Hong Kong, asia.playstation.com