Pode Review (PS4)

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Pode – Game Play Trailer | PS4

Developer: Henchman & Goon
Publisher: Henchman & Goon

Review

Review Context: Puzzle games are something I tend to avoid because I tend to play video games to not think. Granted, this was back when I was in school. Now, I still don’t play them that much, but I will dab in a few games. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker got me back into the genre.

Date of Playthrough: February 23, 2019

 

Disclosure: This game was based off of a review copy.

Graphics

The visuals are colorful and bright, considering the game mostly takes place inside caves, but the small time you see the outside is beautiful and breathtaking. The caves show isolation, but the bright visuals let you know that everything will be alright. The lighting effects work, as well as the transformation with Rock and Star of the environment. The Star and Rock, while quiet, displays a lot of emotions through their eyes.

Controls

When looking at the setup, it looks easy enough as you play the game and the tutorial helps you with each command until it becomes second nature. However, there are moments where you have to figure the controls for yourself. While the game is local co-op, if you are playing solo you have to control both characters. Each one can jump and have a special move where the environment changes for that character. For example, Rock’s ability opens doors and can absorb and throw items, while the Star can brighten a room, create plants, and melt ice.

One of the features of the PS4 controller that barely gets used is the light. The light on the controller is used to help you in who you are controlling. It turns orange when you are controlling the Star and blue when you are the Rock. It’s a game that anyone can pick up and play for a game like this. If you forget how to perform an action the icon will appear to remind you. One thing that throws me off is that the menu screen only lets you use the analog stick. Why is this a big deal to me? Because I usually navigate the menu with the D-pad. It’s second nature for me, so when I pause the game and notice the D-pad does nothing, I have to remind myself every time that I have to use the analog stick to navigate.

Design

The power of indie games always gets me when the story is small but impactful. It’s basically a story of a star falling from the sky and is befriended by a Rock, as the Star wishes to get to the top of the mountain to return home. Simple story, but how its presented is adorable.

This game gives me vibes of Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, except this feel lonelier. By that I mean that it’s just you and your friend. No enemies, boss battles, or a time limit, and you are unable to die. The point of the game is that each level there is a puzzle to solve. As you go farther in the difficulty it is perfect, where some levels took me five to fifteen minutes.

I forgot this game was a timed exclusive on Switch and I can see why. The amount of puzzle solving is the right amount for someone wanting to play a quick round on handheld mode. Nothing against the PS4 version I played, but I can see this game working better on Switch because of it. I can admit while this game is fun, I know it would’ve been nice to play with someone to explain what we need to do. I almost forgot to mention there is no online play, just local co-op, which is fine for me.

This game gives you a basic tutorial of what to do, but the main focus of the game is to think outside the box because there will be puzzles where you have to figure “If I can do this” mentality. Case in point, there was one puzzle where I had to guide the Star across a plain, but there wasn’t enough leeway. I decided to see if I could absorb the Star into the Rock, shoot it out, and that was how it was solved. If anything, this mechanic reminds me of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, where the game gives you basic information and you, the player, have to figure it out yourself.

Pode

Sound

The ambient sounds of the cave are nicely done, as well as the effects for when you transform the environment with each character’s ability. The ones that get me are when they talk with their cute noise. Major props go to the soundtrack for perfectly giving off the lonely vibe. I later learned that this is the same composer from Journey, which made it more awesome they got Austin Wintory to score this. As of now, I can say this is my favorite original gaming soundtrack.

Similar Game Liked:
Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)

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