Puppeteer Hands On

By: Fiona O'Kane    On: PlayStation 3
Published: Friday 14 Jun 2013 10:31 PM
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At E3, it's easy to be drawn towards the bright lights and the loudest booths. If you let that happen, though, you run the risk of missing out on some extraordinary titles - many of which are hiding in plain sight. One such title at this year's show was the previously announced - but still barely known about - Puppeteer, for PlayStation 3.

Puppeteer was described to me as being “a dark fairy tale”. The creator is an Englishman who moved to Japan about eight years ago. He wanted to create a game for kids like his son to enjoy, who enjoy variety, and not looking at the same thing for too long. Therefore, he came up with a story with the backdrop of a theatre, where the sets change constantly, so the visuals are not static.

Japanese puppet theatre is combined with the traditions of English pantomime and Punch and Judy to create a fresh and new look for the game. Sony have been developing this game as a little “craft” project for the past three years, and it has a look and style all its own, combining a “Japanese” type game, with a “Western” one.

The hero of the story is Kutaro, and his companion cat is Yin Yang. The villain of the piece is the Moon Bear King, who has stolen a moon stone and pair of magic scissors from the Moon goddess, and uses them to take the souls of children. That’s how poor Kutaro ends up a puppet, and has to steal the magic scissors himself to try and escape.

Essentially it’s a side scrolling platform game, but with a lot of sass. The left stick moves Kutaro, and the right stick moves Yin Yang, who can investigate objects, to reveal hidden things within. The way the characters move is quite unusual, just like a puppet moves; slightly jerkily and as if they are suspended (think: Thunderbirds.)

Carrying on with the theatre setting, an audience also cheer, laugh, and applaud along with the action onscreen. The developer I spoke to explained that these sounds were captured by hiring out a real theatre, and recording the reactions of a real crowd, which explains the authenticity of the sounds you hear.

The game has a likeable look and feel, great soundscape, a bit of sophisticated humour for adults to enjoy, and an interesting story to follow. It'll be interesting to see if it manages to maintain its dynamic charm throughout the experience, but it certainly engaged me throughout my time with it.

Puppeteer is launching in September.

At a Glance

Pros: Muppets

Cons: Punch & Judy

"Likeable look and feel, great soundscape, and a bit of sophisticated humour."


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Comments (9)

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LoftyDog NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 2:05 AM Posted by LoftyDog
Little Big Planet 3 sans sackboy?
fifamessi NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 7:23 AM Posted by fifamessi
I really like that even with the ps4 launching, Sony is still releasing killer titles like Last of Us, Puppeteer, Beyond Two Souls, Gran Turismo 6 etc.

This just looks so good.
kiwibadboy NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Saturday 15 Jun 2013 10:48 PM Posted by kiwibadboy
Looks really good, and very LBP-like
On Sunday 16 Jun 2013 4:40 PM Posted by nos4r2d2
I like the sound of this, shame my PS3 died.
On Monday 17 Jun 2013 12:05 PM Posted by jamadman
reminds me a bit of LBP, i dont mind that at all
grieving NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 19 Jun 2013 2:29 PM Posted by grieving
Looks good. These little games are why I prefer Sony.
On Wednesday 19 Jun 2013 7:46 PM Posted by Serpent_Riders_Dsparil
Oh how I want to play this game. *Writes a ballad*
tom_nz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 20 Jun 2013 1:15 PM Posted by tom_nz
It looks so fun. Microsoft doesn't really do fun. I hope they bring out something similar when the PS4 launches or even a couple years down the track when my son is old enough to play it with me.
On Sunday 23 Jun 2013 2:03 AM Posted by sick_wierdo
Definitely LBP inspired