Many may have seen Puppeteer and simply dismissed it as a game for kids, with no value or enjoyment for adults. Let me dispel those thoughts; Puppeteer is THE most unique and innovative game I have seen in a very long time. This is something that has never been done before in gaming, and Sony Japan definitely have delivered an fun experience for people of all ages. Read on for our full review of this groundbreaking game…

If you were to put Puppeteer in an existing genre bracket, the closest would probably be a platformer (side-scrolling), however, it really is much more than that. Puppeteer is a charming, interactive puppet show, with outstanding hand drawn artwork and impressive mechanics. It may appear to be a game aimed at children, but it really is suitable for those of all ages, and has a lot of content for the great value asking price. Sony Japan have created a PS3 exclusive that is unique and refreshing to play, and it certainly should not be missed out on.

Narration is a key point of Puppeteer, and is where almost all of the plot will be told. You will play as Kutaro, who was once a little boy, but has been transfigured into a puppet. One of the unique ideas of the Sony Japan team will become apparent immediately… they have ditched a traditional health system in favour of a newly invented way of measuring lives. Kutaro collects a variety of heads, each of which has a different theme and special ability. These heads are the element of the game that keep you alive; if you lose all your collected heads (taking a hit results in the loss of a head), you will die and must restart from the last checkpoint. It is an ingenious system, and works fantastically for a game of this nature.

One of the great things about Puppeteer is its presentation. As you begin a scene, the layers of scenery and props load in as if they are stacking one in front of the other. It really adds a puppet-show feel when you see the stage being set like that, particularly with the backgrounds and props being styled as if they were made of cardboard. The game has huge levels of charm, and really does bring a warm, happy feeling the player as they are playing.

The heads available to collect vary in appearance, ability and frequency. Some heads with special abilities more useful than others may appear less often in the game, so, you would always want to change back to the most common head in your group after using one of the rarer kinds. The game allows you to track the amount of heads you found in each act, so, for those players who like collecting everything, this will give replay value to go back and play through each act again.

Another focus of the game is CALIBRUS. Calibrus is a magic pair of calipers, and these allow you to attack enemies, cut various objects in the game and travel along paths of cloth by cutting through it (allowing you to remain in the air, rather than falling). It is something we have never seen done before, and that is the main focus of this game. Innovating and presenting itself in a way that has never before been attempted in gaming. This is what sets Puppeteer apart; its uniqueness.

Puppeteer’s world is best described at 2.5D. You can see that there are 3D layers behind the 2D image we see, but the game doesn’t have much of a scope for movement inside the third dimension. Puppeteer honestly looks like something you would expect on the PS4. The graphics are absolutely gorgeous, and the hand drawn assets and characters add to the charm and beauty of the game. Every single prop which appears in the game is created with an immense level of detail. Everything in the game looks like an authentically created stage prop for an extremely high end production. I have to be honest, I have NEVER seen 2.5D graphics look this astonishing. You really have to see it yourself to see the true work which was put into the vivid, warm world of Puppeteer.

If you thought the team may have spent all their time on graphics and left a so-so sound performance, you’d be wrong. The voice acting and sound effects are outstanding. You really would not expect this level of quality in a game such as Puppeteer; both the graphics and voice acting quality live up to what Disney product, even surpassing some of their high budget animated features. It really is impressive that the team managed to produce something like this from their limited resources. Even the music lives up to the Disney quality. You don’t see games like this often.

To conclude; Puppeteer is almost faultless. I have to say, I have not had such an interesting but relaxing experience from gaming in a long time. The game has some of the best graphical and sound offerings that I have seen in any game, and the plot and uniqueness of gameplay match that level. Puppeteer should not be overlooked; it is suitable for EVERYONE (young, old, casual, hardcore), offers a large amount of the highest-quality content and is available at an outstanding price. Japan Studio have created something that you don’t see often, something that has never been done before in gaming.