Me & Papo & Yo

Fri, Mar 9, 2012

Events, Frisky Misc, Industry

TriplePoint is playing host to a number of clients during GDC this week, but the majority of what I’ve been seeing consists of Minority, since they’re actually here at the new TriplePoint office. Minority has been giving demos of Papo & Yo, their debut game which is heading to PSN, and every time I’ve walked past the demo room, I’ve stopped to glance at the very pretty puzzle-platformer through the windows. Unfortunately for my curiosity, It’s GDC, and Minority’s plate is far too full to give an extra demo to someone like me who didn’t make an appointment.

Fortunately, nobody locked the door when the team stepped out for lunch, either.

Picking up the controller put me in control of Quico, the shirtless protagonist of Papo & Yo. The controls for Quico are a fairly standard affair — left stick for movement, right stick for camera, buttons to jump and interact with the world. The world itself, though, is something unique. Quico finds himself running through a shanty town, stacked up with colorful, ramshackle structures, lit by the early-morning (or late-afternoon) sun. Upon dashing into the first area, one finds a young girl interacting with a series of drawings on a nearby wall, right up until she draws a door, opens it, and disappears inside. Quico can’t re-open the door, but it is quickly revealed that he can also interact with these playful drawings, wherever he finds them.

More often than not, messing with the art allows him to manipulate the world around him. A drawn handle on the side of a house allows you, as Quico, to drag it into a new position. A cardboard box, with windows and door sketched on its sides, can be picked up and moved to re-arrange corresponding structures in the world around you. The entire effect puts an element of innocent imagination into the otherwise poverty-ridden world around you, and goes a long way towards getting the player to enjoy Quico’s company. I found a box sitting around with “HINT” drawn on the side — and I couldn’t help but grin when, as I instructed Quico to interact with it, he plucked up the box and placed it over his head.

The build that was on display didn’t have any appearances by Papo & Yo’s intriguing “monster,” but as I roamed through several areas, perpetually in pursuit of the curious girl and her magical doors, the environmental manipulation puzzles were clearly beginning to ramp up. What started as obvious solutions evolved, over just 15 minutes, into a few headscratchers with ever-increasing use of the game’s world-moving mechanics. It’s very pretty, and I’m quite curious to see what the game is like once I have to start worrying about robots and frogs.

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