Pikuniku Preview: Everything is Perfect!
Greg Johnson / Oct 10th, 2017 No Comments
Pikuniku is a world filled with armless living shapes trying to solve problems such as: Where are my missing kids? Why is our mayor monitoring us via invasive surveillance? How do I move this frog off a water pipe?
I got a chance to explore this world of strange blob-like creatures, and the hysterical writing had me excited to play more.
U R Perfect!
Pikuniku doesn’t feature a normal story. You find yourself in a strange place as an aimless traveler when you happen upon a seemingly perfect village. However, you learn that not everything is at appears.
Despite its dark undertones, Pikuniku is absolutely hysterical. Jokes are bizarre, but the timing and delivery is perfect in every regard. I spent the majority of time playing the demo laughing.
The non-sequitur humor and big brother vibes create a mysterious, light tone that is driven home by the simplistic art style. Simple shapes and objects populate the world, both in the form of characters and elements of the world. The sharp color contrasts makes the game incredibly pleasing to the eyes.
Stop Kicking Me!
In order to uncover the mysteries of this strange world, players will have to use a combination of platforming and puzzle solving. There are only three controls: move, jump and kick.
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Players who fall off platforms will not take any damage. Developers told me they wanted Pikuniku to be a game without a death; an experience that is comforting and relaxing. Their hope is that players will collapse on the couch after a long day at work and unwind while playing Pikuniku.
An early section of the game that I played revolved around a search for three missing children. Once I began searching outside of the town, I found myself stuck — I was literally stuck inside of a room with seeming no way out. After a bit of trial and error, I discovered a hidden passage that I could roll through once I’d lowered my body to fit.
I also later found that I could pass through difficult platforming sections by using the main character’s legs to attach to hooks hanging from platforms and traverse upward with swinging momentum. After tossing myself from platform to platform, I finally found one of the children.
Kicking is the only point of aggression in Pikuniku. Other players can be shoved around at will with a kick, causing them to harmlessly roll away with an unhappy look on their face. I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me laugh every single time.
The main campaign is a single-player experience, but the players can also team up with a friend to take on co-op challenges.
Challenges are varied and require players to work together seamlessly. One challenge I faced had me split up with my co-op partner and alternatively find and hit switches to allow each other to move forward. Another had us attempting to climb on top of each other to advance to high platforms, then find a way to pull the other up.
It is fairly typical for a co-op platformer challenge, but the gameplay mechanics and world are unique and delightful.
Pick Me Niku!
Pikuniku is a different type of experience. It has a very distinct art style and offbeat humor. The game will allow players to relax while exercising their brain. It should fit in well with Nintendo Switch’s growing library.
Pikuniku is expected to release in 2018 for Nintendo Switch and PC.
tags: PAX West 2017 , Pikuniku , Pikuniku Preview , preview