Pikuniku (Switch, PC)

In this game you are a little red dot with eyes and wiggly legs.  Kind of like an unevolved 7up Spot.  After emerging from a cave, you enter a colorful world full of other cute little critters.  But these folks are being tricked by an evil pink cloud who wants to take over their land, and it’s up to you to save the day.  Pikuniku is an indie 2-D puzzle platformer downloadable on Switch and PC, but reviewed on Switch here.

You can move left and right with the left analog stick, and tuck your legs in and roll around by pressing a button.  Doing this will let you go faster and sink in water.  Another button will make you kick one of your legs.  Kick to smack objects out of your way, flip switches, and knock away bad guys.  You can also use your legs like grappling wires to swing from certain ropes and hooks.    The game has elements of straight up 2-D platformers, but also has puzzle sections, too.  You’ll have to talk with certain people to collect items to help you progress.  Press the R button to pull up a list of items and costumes you can wear.  There’s also a handful of separate two player co-op levels where each player takes control of a red or orange character and must use teamwork to bypass obstacles and solve puzzles to make it to the end of the stage.

I had a few problems with the game, but I still enjoyed it anyway.  Your character has wiggly, wobbly legs and because of that, you walk around funny and it leads to some laughable animations.  But it also makes the play control a little wonky sometimes, too.  I know that’s just part of the game, but I never liked it when developers make a game more challenging by messing with the play control.  The game is also a little short and easy, but it also means that it held my interest all the way though, which rarely happens in games anymore, and it didn’t get repetitive or overstay its welcome.  And while the Loco Roco style graphics won me over, the game is no where near as charming as Loco Roco.  But even though the game is short, there are gobs of sidequests and even more things to do after the end of the game, so there is a bit of replay value to be had.  If you enjoy silly indie puzzle platformers, you may want to check this one out.

Kid Factor:

Pikuniku is rated E for Everyone with an ESRB descriptor of Mild Fantasy Violence.  You can kick other characters out of the way, but the only things you really destroy are robots.  Very mild language, too, as I caught one character saying “Hell Yeah” in the text.  Reading skill is needed for all the text, and while the game is pretty easy, younger gamers may still need help with the tougher platforming sections.

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