As anyone who has read one of my reviews before can tell you, I don’t really care when a game was released – if I want to talk about how good or bad it is, I’ll do it, and this is by far no exception.
Translating to “Father and I”, Papo & Yo was released in 2012 originally for the PS3, but is now widely available via Steam (I picked mine up in a Humble Bundle – best place to get unusual gems in my opinion). So, was it worth the donation? Absolutely.
So what is it? It’s a puzzle game, a pretty short one – you can clear the game in a few hours, but the quality is to such a high level it could go on much longer without feeling “over-stretched”. You play as a young boy, Quico, and the best description of the world you explore is a surrealists Brazilian city. You meet very few characters in the game, and the majority of interactions are between yourself and a creature known as Monster – and Monster is a fitting name for this beast. Your time in the game is tied to the existence of Monster, and he is the solution to many of the bizarre tasks – however, do not confuse him for a puzzle-solving Pikachu, as numerous times throughout the game he will become enraged and charge at Quico.
The puzzles themselves are inventive, although not overly complex – the game wants to tell a story, not force you to rage-quit. Sometimes it could be as simple as pulling a switch you didn’t see before, others may be just trying something in a slightly different way – the development team, Minority, want you to be able to play through the full experience. As far as the game atmosphere is concerned, it gets top marks from me – the game has a gentle flow to it, and the music and bright surroundings give a real sense of desire to continue – but when Monster becomes enraged, the sky darkens and the music becomes drawn out and distressed, and honestly had me yearning for the moments of safety left behind when he changed.
The final thoughts? It was a beautiful game. The small errors I noticed were easily ignored – a game of this calibre can really get away with a few minor bugs, and I never came across any game breaking glitches. Papo & Yo is more of a story experience than a game, so although the gameplay wasn’t too difficult, it can still get you to pause and consider your surroundings. As far as stories go, I may not be picking this up for a long time, but it will be on my mind for quite some time. A deep and moving experience, I highly recommend this game.