I'm incredibly comfortable saying that Puppeteer is one of my favorite games of the year. I've said it before and I'll say it again, execution is one of, if not, the most important things in game development. Now a lot of other things need to go right in order for a game to be successful, or good, or even fun. However, well executed games often have a bunch of other things going for it.
Puppeteer was developed in house by SCE Japan Studio and is in limited release. It's only $40 dollars and available on disc and on PSN.
More on my time with it after the break.
If you play enough games you start to notice strange things about them. One of the things that stuck out the most to me was Puppeteer's sound design. The game's protagonist, Kutaro, is a wooden puppet and as such makes little wooden noises when he runs, jumps, rolls, or does almost anything. It's a little touch but one that I really picked up on.
But things don't stop there. Everything in Puppeteer is tied together by its presentation style. It's something close to a side-scroller. The player has to run back and forth across the screen but depending on the sequence the background may actually move with them. It might be confusing to think about but it really does look like a puppet show. There's a border around the screen that makes it look like a stage and the narrator and characters will sometimes directly address the audience. The setting also changes in something akin to three dimensional space. It will move, rotate, and shift all as part of the storytelling. It's beautiful and fantastic and I love it.
The narrator and all of the voice acting is wonderful. All the characters are over the top and charming. The writing is fantastic and the voice work is top notch. I still think that Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper might have done the best work in a game this year but Puppeteer's voice cast is simply phenomenal.
The gameplay is fairly simple and it sort of feels like LittleBigPlanet. You run around back and forth hopping and chopping with your magical scissors. It's not complicated and that's beautiful. The controls feel great, simple, and effective. It's face paced and really draws you in to play more.
I'll eventually do a Not a Review once I've finished up but as of right now I can seriously recommend it to almost anyone. It's rare that I play a game and continuously want more and more of the game.