Published on June 14th, 2011 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
E3 2011: Papo & Yo Demo Impressions
Release Date: Early 2012
Platform: PlayStation 3
Combining various forms of play in order to present an overall refreshing experience must have been Minority’s m.o. when they set forth to design Papo & Yo. Minority itself was founded by former EA Design Director Vqander Caballero and Rezolution Pictures. The game has been created and delivered through Sony’s Pub Fund, which will no doubt gain steam and keep propelling the studio’s qualifications to contribute more titles like this one.
As stated in our previous preview for Papo & Yo, the game brings together three friends in a vivid exploration of imagination. Quico, Lula, and Monster venture out into the world to solve puzzles and discover what they are capable of. Many are already talking about the representation of the games story line to Caballero’s life. Expressing the troubles through these characters and imagination are the very rungs in the ladder of creativity. We not only get to understand the meaning of the characters, but we also begin to understand the developers creative process.
The beginning of the demo brought us to the immediate introduction of Lula, the pint-size robot. Running through the town and continuously calling for her leads us to discover her whereabouts. Jumping down from a building and hitting the square button brings her over to ride on Quico’s back. Quico can now bring her along, or utilize her abilities with the given on screen button selections.
With the help of Lula we jump in to interact with our first puzzle, which is completed by tugging a giant rope and making our path literally rise from the earth. Not to ruin any of the surprises, there are a few steps that are going to be left to keep the spoilers out. It was great to see how our characters interacted with one another, but also how the game strives for depth in its use of these characters. With our characters working and our set path levitated, Quico can climb on top of these and venture up the path to the roof tops.
Trotting up the path leads us to yet another puzzle to solve. This time, we are on the rooftop with elevated apartment structures in the distance. Since the world that Quico has introduced to us is simply a figment of his imagination, he is able to literally move mountains as if they were mole hills. Items can be interacted with and picked up to move them according to the puzzle needs. This technique and interaction were done with taste and finesse. Directing buildings, with the help of Lula, will provide the correct path to the next area. This also introduced us with our final friend, Monster.
As puzzles showcase the active environment, the world Quico has created becomes a more tangible with every progression. The last puzzle let us to free our friend Monster from a fenced off enclosure. Grabbing yet another large rope reveals the route in which we can now access him. While the demo showcased the tech and how we interact within the game, there were a few things that we were informed about that the team was still working on. Things like interactive options with Monster Monster, down to things such as the animations involved, were among the many fine tunings that they had in their list of things to do.
Papo & Yo looks to bring the best of platforming, mixed with some unique puzzles, and topped with a great art style. While this demo showcased the games potential, it was already starting to shape what the final project would look like. There were only a few instances where the characters interaction and proximity with one another showed its premature form. This was also the case with some animations i.e, running, jumping, and calling for Lula. The art style was fresh and the gameplay unique. If you are looking for this game to be some sort of Ico revival, then you are only going to kill the demo and not appreciate its value. After playing through this E3 2011 demo, it was easy to see that we will be hearing more positives stem from this title.