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Pikuniku review

We give our verdict on this puzzle-exploration game.

Pikuniku
© Sectordub / Devolver Digital

Running a four person team: developer Sectordub brings us something that doesn’t quite come along but once in a while. Jumping in, you play as a little red blob with two legs and two dots for eyes, coming out of your cave for the first time! The neighbouring village has a big problem when you accidentally break their bridge–they can’t get crops through! The promise of ‘free money’ for the town puts the pressure on you to fix the bridge, which in turn starts your bigger adventure. It all looks so perfect, but something is not quite right. …And ‘free money’? Well, we all know there’s no such thing!

It’s immediately clear that nothing is dull about Pikuniku. The brightly coloured screens with bold and defined shapes–it almost feels like you’re stepping right into a toddler’s storytime book. It’s simplicity and whimsy is everything; Pikuniku holds up so well on it’s two little red legs, I honestly can’t see how this wouldn’t charm the socks off of anyone. In it’s own special brand of silliness, Pikuniku has remnants of other games like the Katamari series, but really takes off and makes the whole concept its own.

Watch the Pikuniku trailer below:

Pikuniku’s physics really highlight how silly of a world, and how sound the gameplay is. As your character (“The Beast” to some) roams around, you find that two legs are to be no limitation–in fact, the array of moves in your pocket are incredibly useful…not to mention an absolute joy. They’re not all obvious at the start, with some requiring things like grapple hooks or zip lines. The great thing about Pikuniku is that there’s a natural progression to discover and use these moves as they come–if a game can work me through a tutorial without formally having to hold my hand, it’s a special kind of awesome. As a player, I feel empowered that I somehow ‘discovered’ these wonderful things I can do, which only adds to my great sense of adventure and accomplishment when exploring.

The main task in gameplay is solving puzzles. Many of these include doing tasks for the interesting characters you come across. Someone wants to play hide and seek, another might like you to find something for them and return it. In doing so, you get little trophies for your side quests. These tasks aren’t particularly hard, but they do require some on the spot thinking and are quite fun to figure out. You will also get various items for your character to wear, some having abilities of their own, or are a means to an end with the quests. As one might guess, they’re super adorable to strut around in too–something about wearing a pencil on my head just cracks me up. Best part about the lovely dress up game? The graphics are so simple that anything on the screen is immediately recognisable in any look you’re going for. It’s truly brilliant, and some day in the future I’ll be starting my career in fashion as the first Beast to take to the catwalk in Pikuniku Fashion Week.

View some Pikuniku screenshots in our gallery:

If I had one word to describe Pikuniku, I would put the whole adventure down as ‘fun’. It’s a joy to play and the dialog genuinely had me cracking smiles and laughing at my screen consistently. Even with the bigger problems lurking in the bushes, the atmosphere of Pikuniku reflects such charm. Despite its extremely bold bright state, it’s very relaxing to play. Aside from just exploring the countryside, local co-operative mode lets you take a friend along to double the fun! There are a few ‘damn’s in there, but otherwise it’s a fantastic game for any age. Hats off to Sectordub for giving us this unique breath of fresh air with Pikuniku! It’s certainly marked down as an instant personal favourite of mine.

Pikuniku was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.

Publisher: Devolver Digital Developer: Sectordub Release Date: January 24th, 2019 Reviewed On: PC/Steam Also Available On: Nintendo Switch

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