Papa & Yo

First and foremost, Papa & Yo is an interactive exploration of the core experience – what having an alcoholic parent can be like for a child. I don’t really have any reference but I would like to think it is successful since it communicates a rather clear story with few words. The monster is mostly docile and though you need it to pass through the level, it feels like a silly formality and most of the time you’re just clearing a path for it. You carefully move things around the level to make sure the monster will not go¬† into a fit of rage, and if it does you mostly try to stay out of the way. The gameplay is very familiar to anyone who ever had to do an escort quest but that is why the communication works so well.

Then, there’s the game part. Papa & Yo reminds me of Ico on many levels, the shantytown is a bit different from the old castle but both are aesthetically pleasing, mystical and desolate places where you go around solving puzzles. The puzzles in Papa & Yo are for the most part not very interesting though, mostly busywork and precision platform jumping to implement solutions that are easy to figure out. The game contains little repetition between discrete puzzles and always introduces something new – while this serves well to maintain the otherworldly mood, in terms of gameplay it feels like the game is training you to solve tougher problems that never appear.

But again, the puzzles are a vehicle for the theme rather than the other way around, and the theme works really well.

Posted on Aug 27/12 by Saint and filed under Reflections | No Comments »