Developer: Devolver Digital
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Genre: Adventure, Platformer, Multiplayer, Puzzle
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Audience: Mild Fantasy Violence
Release Date: Switch: 24/01/2019
Price: £11.69 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.
What the Developers say
Pikuniku is an absurdly wonderful puzzle-exploration game that takes place in a strange but playful world where not everything is as happy as it seems. Help peculiar characters overcome struggles, uncover a deep state conspiracy, and start a fun little revolution in this delightful dystopian adventure!
A Vibrant Adventure for All: Explore a
colorfulworld at your own pace, help quirky characters with their unusual requests, and solve clever puzzles that will challenge both kids and adults.
Charming Cast: Meet a cast of memorable characters on your journey, each with their own problems and eccentricities to accommodate along the way.
Cooperative Mode: Join up with family and friends for local multiplayer fun in custom cooperative levels and challenges.
For three reasons that I am about to divulge, Pikuniku has proven quite the challenge to review. Firstly, the rather unusual conspiracy theory and the increasingly apparent revolution that builds throughout the game is one that should be experienced firsthand by the gamer – any indication from me as to what it entails would be an injustice to the game design. Second of all, what Pikuniku is and who you encounter along the journey is difficult to describe! Last but not least, Pikuniku clocks in with roughly three hours worth of gameplay, which when you are trying not to give too much away, can make for a review which is sparse on content.
Looks and Sounds
No stranger to indie game development on the Nintendo Switch, Devolver Digital is quite the powerhouse for new gaming content on our hybrid console. As such, any release now comes with a weight of expectation and a right to be considered for download. Pikuniku is no different, and when I saw the screenshots of this beautifully vibrant world, I knew it was something worth looking into.
The charm and eloquence with which the game is presented are superb, and although simplistic in design, it makes for a fantastic backdrop to the story that unfolds. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring each landscape, and the finer details within them were great to see. To some, the designs may not be to their liking. However, I implore you to look past this when considering whether the game is for you.
With a funky musical number playing in the background and any interactions with NPCs being greeted with a sweet, harmless mumble, it offers what we have come to expect from audio as an enhancement to both atmosphere and gameplay. I think for all the creativity and charm that exudes from Pikuniku in other areas of the game, the soundtrack could have offered more.
Gameplay and Replayability
Sporting a pair of gangly legs that even Kate Moss would be envious of, Pikuniku is the playable character for this enlightening journey. Using ‘Y’ to kick and ‘B’ to jump, you interact with the environment and the people in it, completing quests to build relationships and progress the story. Heavily reliant upon his kicking ability, Pikuniku can fight enemies and kick items for a desired effect. The quests that you complete can be accessed from the ‘Objectives’ option in the pause menu, and these are shared with the support of a 2D map to great effect.
The characters you encounter on your adventure are both insightful and odd in equal measure. There is a lot of humour on display with Pikuniku, and this is commonly done through the interactions with the NPCs. I applaud the writer for the absurd conversation and storyline, as I enjoyed both a lot.
Through the requests from the other village inhabitants, you are sent on a variety of missions – many of which you will have seen in one form or another in other platform titles. Completing said missions which often result in an advancement of the story or an unlockable. Mainly paid in the way of money, or swag, you can purchase a new hat which your character can wear, offering different abilities for situations that you encounter.
For me, Pikuniku is a one-time playthrough. It provides a thought-provoking and fascinating story that can be over in under five hours, and there is little reason to return. I would love to tell you more about the story. However, it would lessen its impact. What I can say, however, is this dystopian story is deserving of your attention.
To improve the quality of replayability, there is the option for local co-op which includes a mode where you must get to the end of the level, and yourself and your partner are to board a boat. Again, only offering a few hours of content; however it is great to see its inclusion and makes good use of the multiplayer aspects of the Nintendo Switch.
A short and sweet review of a short and sweet game results in the following conclusion: Pikuniku is an excellent attempt at offering a deep, dark, dystopian storyline using minimalistic visuals and gameplay mechanics to boot. It is as enjoyable to play as it is to experience the environments that have been created. With a dose of humour, the occasional puzzle and some interesting characters, it is fair to say your time with Pikuniku will not be boring.
Rapid Reviews UK Rating
You can purchase Pikuniku on the Nintendo Switch eShop at the following link, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Pikuniku-1497144.html#gameDetails