Friday, October 16, 2020

REVIEW: Pikuniku

This is another game I picked up in's Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. I've heard about it before and regretted not getting it when it was on sale for $0.99 on the Switch, so I'm glad I was finally able to play it. But was it worth the wait?

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!

This puzzle platformer is known for being kooky and zany and boy does it want you to know it. You play a red blob with legs that look funny when you move and are dropped into a crazy world where all kinds of absurd stuff happens everywhere you go. It gets the kooky playstyle well but it feels too precious, like it’s trying too hard to be weird.

The world is relatively straightforward so you won’t get lost in a massive Metroidvania map, but that means puzzles are limited and the you’re more likely to accidentally bump into a secrets than find one through exploration.

One thing I genuinely enjoy is the ability to kick anything and everything. There isn’t any combat, but plenty of puzzles involve kicking objects, or characters, all over the place. You’re guaranteed a few good laughs from kicking random NPCs around until the fall over or, better yet, fly right off the screen. I appreciate that it uses absurd gameplay mechanics instead of quirky dialogue to achieve its comedy.

The game also sports a really nice artistic style. The graphics are all simple shapes with a bright color palette. It almost feels like you’re playing inside of an elementary schooler’s doodles.

Pikuniku might be trying too hard, but that doesn’t make it bad. It’s dumb and weird in a good way while supplying a decent amount of entertainment. Pikuniku was developed by Sectordub and released by Devolver Digital on the Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, and Linux.