Puppeteer PS3 review – A bolt of originality with no strings attached

Puppeteer ps3 screens

So to defeat Snake – a general of the evil Moon Bear King – you’ve got to ride a rat through the serpent’s toxic innards before cutting your way through its throat with a pair of magic scissors. It’s a sequence that’s essentially Puppeteer in miniature, five-minutes where this PS3 game throws a completely new mechanic your way before barrelling you through a breakneck set piece of outlandish creativity and sinister cartoon violence.

Puppeteer PS3 review

Oh, the violence. ‘Don’t run with scissors!’ said every Mum, ever. ‘Ignore boring old Mum!’ replies Puppeteer before handing you arguably the most moreishly addictive gameplay tool on PS3 and then encouraging you to dash all over the place cutting things to shreds with it. They’re called Calibrus, and the snippy satisfaction that comes with making tattered rags out of a hapless boss feels brilliant like peeling dried glue off your fingers.

Puppeteer often brings out that kind of childish delight – it’s a game for 10-year olds, both real ones and the ones we all have buried under a layer of stony adult cynicism. The world is colourful, creative and wildly diverse – you’ll side scroll your way through castle dungeons, haunted forests and pirate ships to name just three – and is brought to life with Dahl-esque wit and flair by a hilarious cast of characters.

Puppeteer ps3 screensThe game continually over indulges in its concept however; a framed narrative sees the action playing out on an in-game stage complete with curtain drapes, cheering crowds and panto style narration. Even the pause menu is playfully daubed ‘intermission.’ It’s a brilliant idea, but Puppeteer regularly forgets that first and foremost it’s supposed to be a game and stumbles into the trap of constantly showing off how clever it is. Each ‘act’ is punctuated by lengthy cut scenes that – while often entertaining and well scripted – inevitably end with your thumbs anxiously twitching at your neglected controller, with the musical interludes in particular really getting on my nerves.

But that’s the only thing preventing Puppeteer from notching an even higher score. The game hurls its madcap two-dimensional world at you with boundless enthusiasm, constantly shifting gears and giving you new things to cut with those wonderful scissors. Later on you’ll use them to solve puzzles and propel yourself through the air too, which is indicative of how Puppeteer teaches you new gameplay tricks right until the end. There’s always something new to toy with, plus wooden hero Kutaro’s ability to jam different heads onto his tiny shoulders never gets old, even though they’re little more than novelty collectibles.

A great example of the first party creative
talent at Sony’s disposal, Puppeteer is
one of PS3’s most original exclusives

The platforming itself is solid if not spectacular, but then much like LittleBigPlanet it’s the warmth and creativity of the world that counts, and the world of Puppeteer is one of the most original I’ve seen on PS3. A great example of the first party creative talent at Sony’s disposal, Puppeteer is one of PS3’s most original exclusives. Even the lovechild of Scrooge and the Grinch would crack a smile.

Our Score

Score: 8

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