Let me tell you about a YouTuber; Super Bunnyhop.
Less known as George Weidman, the North American YouTuber//pseudo-journalist hosts a cavalcade of different videos on his channel, with his most prominent series being “Games From My Inbox”. With this series, he’s made tons of unknown titles reach more mainstream markets that they deserve, and has allowed me to see a few in action. Elliot Quest, The Way, Revolver 360 and Mushihimesama are examples of titles he’s introduced me to, and now here’s Wuppo; child’s play for adults.
Today’s daydream comes from Knuist & Perzik, a Dutch duo by the name of Lars Korendijk & Thomas de Waard, for whom Wuppo marks their debut release. Seeing a release on PC in September of 2016, it was received with almost unanimous praise, so much so that they’d work together with Sodesco to release the game for Xbox One and PS4.
You play as a Wum, 1 of 4 races in the world you reside in, who has been exiled from his home due to being a fat Neet who spills ice cream all over the place. After being robbed and humiliated, you now find yourself in a strange world, filled with hundreds of different creatures, and you set yourself on a journey to return home a changed man. Oh, and I suppose you can kill some gods along the way.
Wuppo is deceptive at first, as what seems like a straight-up platformer with a primary colour palette turns into a Metroidvania-esque boss rush, filled with imaginative ideas, an impossible scale and corset-tight design. Supposedly, one half of the duo (Lars Korendijk) is a self taught programmer and game designer, and he’s done well to make sure that nearly every aspect of Wuppo is tuned to a perfect pitch.
The intro does well to ease you in, with the writing showing a general human edge to conversation. Despite the childlike aesthetic and the CBeebies-esque music, there’s definitely an attempt to make the journey reach all ages, and it succeeds. There are chuckles to be had, gasps to escape your mouth, and an overall warm fuzzy feeling that stays with you while you play.
Everything is crudely drawn, but it fits in with the world, if you catch my drift. If these monsters and adorable little blobs were to be put under any other visual style, it wouldn’t have the same impact, but under this colouring book design, and plinky-plonky music, it adds a cutesy effect that makes stuff like Super Lucky’s Tale, Slime Rancher and Ori and The Blind Forest weaken in comparison.
It doesn’t stop there, however, as after you decide to move to greener pastures, you head to Popo City, and before you even enter the city, you see the work that has been done to make Wuppo full of life. The public transport system in the game has a timetable, different wum arrive on different days, escalators are populated daily, and when you arrive in Popo City? There’s hustlin’ and bustlin’; wums have got jobs to do. It’s magnificent to watch unfurl.
Along the way, you’ll also notice an immense amount of lore and knowledge, with Lars and Thomas covering every basis of the world you’ll be residing in. Within your 10-12 hour journey, you’ll recover collectible filmstrips that contain information about wars, events and a ton of exposition that’s delivered to you without it feeling overbearing. I don’t think I can explain in enough detail just how solid this writing is, as no matter what conversation you’ll take part in, you’ll be engaged regardless.
Eventually, you will be faced with the platforming part of the gameplay, and it’s okay, but not nearly up to the standard of everything else. A fair chunk of it is pixel perfection, requiring you to get the right trajectory as your double jump has a weird attachment to gravity that I cannot explain. Meanwhile, bosses require movement that also needs you understand this gravity, as most of the time, you’ll double jump straight into enemy fire.
To add to this weird movement system, is trajectory-based combat, with your weapons being the Gumgumgun, and the Bazooka; both of which work the same way, and to be honest, I can’t say the latter adds much. It makes for more of an AOE weapon, but the Gumgumgun can deal the same amount of damage faster, even without being modified. Still, the bazooka could have been a chocolate teapot for all it mattered, and it wouldn’t have changed the fact that these boss fights are SUPERB.
The other chunk of Wuppo, aside from the quest to stop becoming a loser, is a massive influx of bosses, all of which are tighter than a walnut corset. You’ve got ominous god figures, a giant rock crab… thing; you even fight a literal ball of dust, and it somehow manages to be a spectacle and a blast to watch and play, respectively. Every single one challenges you in a different way, and no two bosses really call for the same playstyle. What you saw in your conservation in your first boss fight, is never going to be seen again.
Out of all 19 bosses, I’d say only one of them seems like a cop-out, in that it’s just 100 of the same useless enemy, but everything else is well-designed. It’s massive, it’s rewarding, and there’s not a single crease or crack in terms of design. The 18 bosses are what I’d call perfection, and you’re guaranteed to have a favourite that’s different from anybody else who plays it.
The down-time between bosses is fine, but near the middle, you begin to fumble around, searching through this metropolis maze for the next job, and it’s a frustrating element at times. Popo City is the main culprit, as everything here turns into a point-n-click affair, and that’s if you even figure your way around, as here, you’re asked to do a ton of different tasks. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had to consult a walkthrough here, and while it impeded progress, what followed was still the same warm fuzzy feeling the game provided and that’s great for me.
In the end, Wuppo is a childhood accessible to everyone. It allows an escape from daily life for just a few hours, and it puts you in a vivid and wonderful dream. It’s one of the more unique games on the indie market right now, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not playing it
This review of Wuppo is based on the Xbox One version of the game.
There's something for everyone in this insanely adorable world of blobs and blob monsters.
Owner of the largest collection of indie games in the Western Hemisphere, and TimeSplitters’ biggest fanboy.