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Review: Papo & Yo

by Blogger on ‎08-21-2012 07:09 AM



It's not often that you see a game wear its heart on its sleeve.  For some game developers that move is just a little too close for comfort, but you can't deny the powerful message it can potentially convey.  Minority Media doesn't seem too concerned about that, projecting an otherwise sensitive topic into their first video game, Papo & Yo.  


As mentioned during my launch announcement of the game, Papo & Yo is puzzle-platforming adventure about a young boy named Quico whose troubled childhood leads him to an imaginative new world -- a manifestation of his real life.  Here he interacts with several characters, including his best friend, Monster, who has a deadly addiction to frogs.  One taste and Monster goes into a fiery rage, causing havoc to everything around him, including Quico. It's up to him to help Monster with his addiction and improve their dysfunctional relationship.  

There's much more to Papo & Yo than its simple story.  It reflects upon Creative Director, Vander Caballero's upbringing with his protective mother and abusive, alcoholic father in South America.  It's a personal, emotionally moving story (just check out the game trailer I've included below) depicting a child's escape from reality.  At the same time, Quico yearns to help his father break his addiction and stop all the hurt and pain he's causing him and his family.  

Having lived with an abusive, alcoholic father myself, I can't sympathize more.  Helping my father fight his addiction was something me and my family fought long and hard for but, at the end of the day, it was up to my father to make the change, not us.  Just like Quico, I escaped into my own world and found comfort in my imagination, but I strived to help him through it all, despite the powerless anger and sadness.  
Papo & Yo's deep story and imaginative world isn't all it has going for it.  Gameplay proves itself to be just as fulfilling, even if it is a little rough around the edges.  The game's geometry bending puzzles are innovative and make for a unique gameplay experience we simply don't see enough of in video games.  None of these puzzles are particularly difficult and don't always merge fluidly with the game's story, but they do offer a clever way of manipulating the world around you.
Papo & Yo is a deep, thought-provoking new game that approaches creative direction in a very personal, yet simplistic level.  The gameplay is equally so, with its enjoyable, innovative puzzles, but still has potential to grow and be so much more than it already is.  Papo & Yo may not be for everyone, but it's a game worth experiencing at least once; it recreates a heartbreaking memory, yet maintains a hopeful, optimistic light that I truly admire. It's one I know all too well.
Papo & Yo is available for download on the PlayStation Network for $14.99.  If you're interested in checking it out, Future Shop carries PSN Points Cards: 

SKU: 10123761

Download exclusive games, add-ons and more with this $20 prepaid card for your PlayStation 3 and/or PSP (PlayStation Portable) systems.

You can also check out the beautiful trailer for the video game below: 

by Retired Blogger on ‎08-21-2012 09:07 AM

Sounds like this is a game with a bit more emotional depth than most. I hope that it eventually finds its way to Steam, so I can check it out. Great review, with more personal insight than I would expect from a Tech Blog post!

by Blogger on ‎08-21-2012 09:16 AM

Thanks Alex!  Papo & Yo definitely has some faults, but I think it makes up for that in its personal message.  I was surprised by how much this game would personally affect me honestly, but it presents such a strong, supportive message I had to share my memories.  

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