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Game Review #140: Pikuniku (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Chad M.

Developer: Sectordub

Publisher: Devolver Digital

Category: Adventure, Platformer, Multiplayer, Puzzle

Release Date: 01.24.2019

Price (at time of review): $12.99

Buy Pikuniku from the Nintendo eShop here.

Kid Friendly... Start ’em Young!

Developed by the French-British indie collective Sectordub, publishers Devolver Digital bring us Pikuniku exclusively on the Nintendo Switch. This doesn’t surprise me for multiple reasons, as the Switch is the powerhouse place to be for indie games at the moment. Plus, Nintendo is the premier brand for kid-friendly gaming, and this is a game that screams kid friendly. Excluding games developed by Nintendo themselves, there are a large quantity that are kid friendly, but it’s rare to find a game that is kid friendly and high-quality, so I was excited to see if Pikuniku could meet those standards.

Caution!!! Cuteness Overload!

In Pikuniku, you play as Piku, a little red Gumby-type blob with two legs and no arms. Piku awakes from a slumber and heads out to explore and help his fellow creatures. These creatures live in little villages and towns all over this strange, wacky, and playful world. Mainly you go from place to place helping everyone that you can, making friends everywhere you go. The government has implemented a kind of “universal wealth distribution” of free money for everyone, but not everything is as it seems. The story is easily one of the main selling points, so I won’t delve too far into it here!

Gameplay & Controls

The controls are very kid-friendly and forgiving, as is the gameplay overall. Nothing was ever difficult, but even though it wasn’t challenging, this didn’t detract from the experience. For example, the basic gameplay was easy for my seven year old, but the platforming and puzzles alike were fun nonetheless. Aside from basic movement, you only jump and kick, while equipping and using different items like glasses and hats. Though it wasn’t difficult, it was nice to see that, as the game went on, it kept introducing new elements to the platforming, which kept the puzzles feeling new and fresh. There is also 2-player couch co-op, which added to the replay value and was a fun feature to have, as my son wanted to keep playing them over and over.

Fun Factor - Audio & Visuals

My time with Pikuniku was a lot of fun. This was mainly because of the hilarious story and the peculiar and kooky characters. The story, right out of the gate, gives a nod to the original Legend of Zelda, and from that point on, it’s hilarious one-liners one after another. As the story unfolds it only gets better, with more characters and more fun gaming mechanics being introduced. As I said before, the story is great, and seems to be purposefully tailored to keep older gamers and parents engaged, since the gameplay isn’t overly challenging.

The music is an upbeat soundtrack that fits in this strange world with gaming sounds that are spot on, like the sounds the creatures make when they talk to you. The art style of the world and characters are done so well in this odd Japanese cartoony style that it gave me flashbacks of an old PSP game called LocoRoco.

It’s A Wrap!

The kids and I had a blast while playing Pikuniku. The only thing I would say, as far as a critique, was the game felt a tad short. But again, my kids didn’t seem to mind, and it has a story to keep you connected to Piku’s journey; and the added option to play with a friend helps add to the overall experience. I can recommend Pikuniku, as it was a solid kid-friendly game that allowed me and my kiddos to play while laughing the whole time.

Score: 8.5/10

Buy Pikuniku from the Nintendo eShop here.

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*Review Code Provided by Tinsley PR

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