I think I’m turning pretentious. I mean, even MORE pretentious.
Between all of the crap I’ve been playing in-between sessions of Black Ops 3 and Rainbow Six: Siege, they all share a similar theme: All art, basic gameplay, no value. A trinity that equates to half of the indie game marketplace, and even moreso on the ID@Xbox program. Another one to join the pile but won’t be the last is Pankapu, a side-scroller that’s more Disney than a bootleg in Best Buy.
Pankapu comes to us from Too Kind Studios, a team that are the literal iteration of their name, as they approached the Kickstarter program with no frills, but all smiles. Releasing the game in episodic -RETCHES- format throughout 2016, it’s taken half a year to reach the Xbox One and PS4 shores, and all I can say to that is at least it was faster than Mighty No. 9.
The game tells the story of Pankapu, The Dreamkeeper, as told by a father reading the story to his confused and ugly child. Pankapu, as far as I’m aware, is a child who is randomly chosen to defend his home from the horrors of the Nightmare world, with all of it’s minions taking the forms of black masses, like the art director got bored. If it sounds dull in my random, jumbled writing, it’s because it very much is.
Too Kind marketed Candapoo as a “back-to-roots platformer”, and I very much believe them. They couldn’t get further back-to-roots if they tried, unless they were seeds, placed in a sachet of indie platformers titled “GENERIC”. Almost every single choice, every design and every decision is so rinse-and-repeat, that it’s amazing the game wasn’t revealed to be made by Microsoft or Sony as “STORE-BRAND INDIE TITLE”.
Even the world itself is so boring and cookie-cutter, despite it’s bright, colourful and admittedly beautiful visual flair. It reminded me of the recent release Mages of Mystralia, where they spent too many hours trying to replicate the monster that is The Legend of Zelda, when it should have been spending that time trying to carve its own mark in the body. Here, it’s the same, with the monster in question being Sonic The Hedgehog, post-Shadow.
The platforming is eerily reminiscent of Bubsy, and I use no hyperbole. Barry, The Bloated moves with a floaty feel, and maneuvering soon becomes a trial-and-error study, when it shouldn’t even be that way that early. The game is more than generous when it comes to your mistakes, and more than plentiful with upgrades and abilities. Which means that almost every enemy barely drains your health, affecting the combat and progression.
Soon into the world of Mandakoopatroopa, every enemy turns into A4 paper sheets, with you being the flamethrower to disintegrate them. Almost every enemy can be stunlocked to defeat, and eventually, it turns every battle into busy work, which is lethal for a platformer to do. Pacing is slaughtered in favour of turning Derek The Demigod into an almost-unstoppable force.
It’s possible that Tyler, The Creator soon meets challenge in his endeavours, but I regret to tell you that I don’t know. The saving system, at time of writing, is unfortunately broken and I was unable to go further than the first world. I tried everything the game could offer me, and kept trying to go further, but the game offered nothing more for me, so I switched to other releases, and returned to the game deciding not to keep my progress.
I will return to the game in the future, so consider this a “first impressions”, as at this time, I am unable to return due to problems on my own end. So, for the meantime, watch this space, as it’s possible Slapadabooty gets better further on. I’ve never accepted that as a good thing, but it’s something to look forward to, eh?
Our second part to this review can be found here.