I have an innate love for fairytales, especially those of the slightly darker variety. I was therefore delighted to hear the developers of Puppeteer refer to this game as inspired by Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam and Tim Burton, as these might be some of my favourite animators and filmmakers of all time.
Puppeteer is a side scrolling platformer currently in development by Sony Computer Entertainment. Not only does it feature a talented development team, but it also features superb musical compositions by Patrick Doyle, composer of blockbuster films such as Carlito’s Way, Thor and Pixar’s Brave.
In the game you control a boy named Kutaro, who has been turned into a puppet and had his head torn off. Yes, it sounds suitably dark and weird already, but of course it gets even better. Kutaro is sent on a quest to find a pair of magic scissors, which he then uses not only to attack enemies, but also to cut up the environment around him to advance through the game and reveal hidden secrets.
The entire environment is a constantly evolving and indeed revolving magical theatre set run by the narrator of the story. The sets change constantly, meaning you’ll never have the same experience twice. The game is inspired very much by the theatre, including things like audience reaction and the way the stage and set is lit.
Puppeteer draws inspiration from shows like Monty Python in more than just style however, as the characters also interact with the player, breaking the fourth wall as they talk directly to them.
The character and environmental design definitely carry through the elements of the dark fairytale. The Moon Bear King captures the souls of children to serve as puppet guards in his castle and the protagonist Kutaro is one such unlucky soul. He displeases the King, and his head is ripped off and eaten while the rest of his body is thrown away.
On his journey he finds a replacement head, as well as allies that help him steal the Moon Bear King’s magical scissors in order to escape and find his way home.
Kutaro can pick up different heads on his journey, each of which acts as a life, as well as special hero heads, which bestow a variety of powers on him. Each of those heads is used a different tool, sometimes in conjunction with others, in order to navigate your way through levels and solve puzzles as you go. You also have a couple of different sidekicks that will help you along the way.
According to the developers there are over one hundred different heads that will you can find and collect as you go.
The background in this game is completely interactive, and you must use the scissors to cut it up, find secrets, and navigate your way around the landscape. The scissors can also be powered up in different ways, so they really are a multi purpose tool.
It’s not all tricks and puzzles however. There are enemies to fight, including thirteen different bosses, which consist of the Moon Bear King’s generals as well as the King himself.
Puppeteer is a platformer, so there will definitely be a two player element to this game.
Its an outrageous, sometimes silly, amusingly dark, but ultimately very fun concept and one I greatly look forward to playing more of.