In a world not unlike our own, TV ads announce that Mr. Sunshine is giving away FREE MONEY when you let his robots pick up your junk! Does this sound too good to be true? Well, it is. In reality, Mr. Sunshine’s robots aren’t picking up junk. They’re taking all the corn, cutting down trees, and sucking the lake dry. But a small resistance is brewing in the woods, and you’ll want to join them to stop Mr. Sunshine and his army of robots for good!
Upon starting a new file, you’re introduced to the basic controls in an underground cavern. Your red, oval-shaped character with long, skinny legs can jump, kick, and roll. When you reach the earth’s surface, a band of villagers mistakes you for a monster and locks you in a cage. After gaining their trust, you explore their rural town and the lands beyond. Soon enough, you find Mr. Sunshine’s robots scooping up corn and dropping shiny coins in return. The villagers are happy about this arrangement, but you quickly learn the sinister intent behind Mr. Sunshine’s ploy.
While your basic movements are jumping, kicking, and rolling, Pikuniku’s environments allow for other movements, too. For example, when you encounter zipline-like contraptions, you can press Y to travel across them. You can use the same button to grapple onto hook-like fixtures that let you swing through the air. Additionally, you’ll find a variety of objects that propel you through the air, like bouncy mushrooms, springy gadgets, and gushing geysers.
Everything about Pikuniku’s gameplay is adorable. The design, movement, and dialogue of characters is delightful, and there are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments to be had. The story is hilarious, dark, and utterly relatable. The environments are designed with simple shapes, bright colors, and forgiving pathways. When you think things are about to go wrong for you, they’re not. You’ll never be stuck, screwed, or set back. Puzzles can be tricky as you approach late-game, but they’re never impossible. With intuition, perseverance, and a bit of creativity, you’re sure to figure things out.
The main campaign can be enjoyed over the course of several hours, but Pikuniku invites you to come back after beating it to search for secrets, collect hidden items, and continue exploring the game’s environments. As you play, you’ll accumulate hats and other accessories to customize your look and interact with the world. You can also can grab a friend and play through a selection of co-op levels, including Pikuniku’s signature sport: a ball game that’s a lot like one-on-one basketball, only you’re encouraged to kick your opponent.
We love everything about Pikuniku, from its cute characters and silly dialogue to its gripping story and lovely graphics, and for $12.99, we couldn’t ask for a more perfect game. Pikuniku comes very close to universal appeal, and if you can afford the $12.99 price tag, we definitely recommend picking up this puzzle-adventure as soon as you can.
Platform – Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Devolver Digital
Developer(s) – Sectordub, Arnaud De Bock, Rémi Forcadell, Alan Zucconi, Calum Bowen
Price – $12.99
Genre – Action, Adventure, Role-Playing, Platformer
Size – 434 MB
Nick and Sarah are the ultimate gaming couple. Nick introduced Sarah to the world of Nintendo games. Nick’s favorites are platformers tough as nails, like Super Meat Boy, Celeste, and The End is Nigh. Sarah prefers titles with more exploration and simulation, like Animal Crossing, Stardew Valley, and Skyrim. But Nick and Sarah both agree that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is one of the best games of all time!