- Publisher: SCEA
- Developer: Sony
- ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
- Genre: Action Platformer
- Release Date: September 10, 2013
- Pros: Gorgeous Visuals, Engaging Gameplay, Fun For All Ages
- Cons: Some Camera Issues, Occasionally Confusing Gameplay
The legend of “Puppeteer” is a unique one. The Moon Bear King steals the souls of children and imprisons them in puppets in his world. A puppet named Kutaro is one such prisoner but he could be the only one who can save the children from the Moon Bear King. After losing his head, he escapes and, with the help of a magical cat, navigates this fascinating, puppet-themed fantasy world to save his friends and himself. Note: The game is also low-priced compared to most new ones, coming in under $40 at most outlets or on the PSN.
The general platforming concept of “Puppeteer” is clear from the title. You play a modern variation on Pinocchio, a puppet who’s also a real boy. Your name is Kutaro, a puppet who has quite literally lost his head. Throughout the game, you will take on various puppet heads that range from relatively expected fare like a knight or king to bizarre creations like a sushi puppet or a burger. Three puppet heads can be carried at one time and they can often be used to alter the environment, revealing hidden paths or even bonus stages. Various forms of platforming gameplay are spaced throughout the title but the majority of the action comes down to jumping and “cutting,” using your puppet scissors to cut along ropes or through fabric, propelling yourself upward and through a level in the process.
“Puppeteer” takes place in a richly designed fantasy world that’s constantly impressing even with its relatively 2D aesthetic. For the most part, it feels like you’re watching an old-fashioned puppet show with its barely-disguised, 2D layers, but the game is constantly playing visual tricks on you. The set changes, the world twists – it’s like being caught in a puppet’s nightmare. Strings fall from the sky for you to slice your way to supposed freedom. There’s a collecting dynamic to “Puppeteer” in that there are items to grab that will change your puppet head or give you a new life (for every 100 collected) but more than most platformers, “Puppeteer” feels like it has an urgency to its focus. It’s not just getting from point A to point B – the focus of all platformers from “Super Mario Bros.” to “Rayman.” There’s something more malevolent and urgent about the action in “Puppeteer,” like you’re not just collecting items on your journey but honestly exploring, rescuing, and advancing from darkness to light.