Title: Papo & Yo

Platform: PS3

Personal Trophy Completion: 100%

Rating: 6/10

I probably wouldn’t have played this game, except it was a free PS+ download for the month of March. It looked interesting enough, so I decided to give it a shot. I wasn’t exactly disappointed with the experience, but I’m glad to have gotten it for free.

You’ll quickly learn that I love trophies. I don’t play games I hate just for the sake of trophies, but they definitely come into the decision making process when I am looking for new games to play. When I start a game, I find the path which will allow me to get the most trophies possible. Back in the day, I used to be more of a perfectionist than I am now, and stick with the same game until I got every last one. Now, I decided that life is too short for that, and aim to get whatever amount I deem reasonable. This still ends up being more than most people. I like to thoroughly play a game in order to get my money’s worth, and most of the time there are trophies related to that.

In order to get 100% on this game, two playthroughs were required. This was because there are hat collectibles that are not available until one has completed the game at least once. Normally I dislike games that force multiple playthroughs, but this one wasn’t so bad because it was pretty short. The second playthrough was even shorter because I was familiar with the puzzles. Doing it twice made me pick up on a lot of symbolism I either didn’t notice or didn’t understand the first time around.

This game is basically about a boy and a monster navigating through various levels. You don’t get very much direct story information, but you eventually realize that the entire thing is an allegory for his abusive, drunk father, and their relationship. I hope this isn’t too much of a spoiler, but I recall that the developer was very open about this fact and it was included in many of the promos. Once you understand that fact, more of the game’s imagery becomes clear, and I was able to appreciate the lack of dialogue and explanations.

The gameplay itself was fine. The jumping mechanic was awful, his feet barely left the ground. Later on, you get “Lula”, a little contraption that allows you to do a kind of semi-double jump hover thing, which improves matters some. However, there are certain parts of the game where Lula leaves, and then you have to readjust to the crappy jumping. The puzzles themselves were interesting, as were the available interactions between Quico (the boy you control) and Monster. The game made it pretty obvious what to do next, and the checkpoint system was very forgiving as there are no real consequences for dying. The only real way to die is to fall off a surface into space, which happens often due to the aforementioned jumping system.

Overall, I didn’t mind playing through this game, but I wouldn’t have paid for it.