Ayo the Clown (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S, PC)

When I was a kid, clowns were not considered scary like they are now.  Granted that was a long time ago.  But back then, clowns like Ronald McDonald frequently graced TV commercials, and even video games featured clowns as main characters, like Mr. Do!, Circus Charlie, and Kid Klown.  And now comes another not-so-scary video game clown with Ayo the Clown.  One day Ayo’s puppy pal gets dognapped, and it’s up to Ayo to go on a 2-D platforming romp to find him.  Ayo the Clown is available on most current game consoles and PC, but reviewed on PS4 here.

Ayo can do all the things a typical 2-D platforming hero can do, but you won’t be able to do them all at once.  After every couple of levels, you’ll learn a new move.  This can get a little annoying, since most of the moves are pretty basic stuff and you won’t even be able to jump in the very first level!  But eventually you’ll be able to jump, use a balloon to sort of double jump to gain height, headbutt, slide, wall jump, and more.  Scattered in each level are gems to collect, and when you collect enough, you can buy upgrades like an extra heart for your health meter, or make your balloon bigger.  You can also find extra lives, but I don’t see how that matters since you can start over at the last checkpoint you passed endlessly as far as I could tell.  You usually dispatch enemies by stomping on them, but you can also pick up weapons like a balloon sword, water balloons, or squeaky hammer for an extra attack.  But once you get hit, you’ll lose that weapon.  Hidden in each level are three teddy bears and three lollipops to find, too.  The game has a world map with about 28 or so levels, plus a couple of fishing mini-games and a town you can visit to buy upgrades and do extra quests.

I do like the toy plastic clay style graphics and the game kept me interested to the end.  But it does have some problems.  The game is pretty derivative and doesn’t do anything new.  I do wish the play control was a bit snappier, but most of the time it’s fine.  Except for one thing.  Later on in the game you learn how to wall jump, and it is very hard to pull off for whatever reason.  Luckily you don’t have to do it very much, but when you do, it’s such a pain.  But other than that, this is still a surprisingly decent platformer, and if you enjoy 2-D romps like Yoshi adventures, you might want to check this one out, too.

Kid Factor:

Ayo the Clown is rated E for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Comic Mischief and Mild Fantasy Violence.  You stomp on cartoony enemies and hit them with balloon swords, water balloons, and squeaky hammers.  And when you lose a life, you just disappear in a puff of purple smoke.  And that’s about as violent as it gets.  Reading skill is needed for the text, and younger gamers may need help with the tougher obstacles and controls.

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