Games which are as funny as they are fun don’t come around all that often, so when one manages to hit the perfect balance of both elements, it should definitely be celebrated. Devolver Digital‘s upcoming title, Pikuniku, hits this mark almost flawlessly.
You play as a long-legged, red, oval-shaped blob emerging from a cave which serves as a kind of tutorial. From there, you’ll talk to inhabitants of the world, complete tasks for them, and just generally have a laugh. It doesn’t really fit into any one genre, but rather, blends elements of adventure, puzzle, and platforming to create a unique experience where silliness reigns supreme.
It’s impossible to play Pikuniku without wearing a big dumb grin on your face the entire time. The dialogue is excellently written and the absurdity of situations and characters is so delightfully surprising, I wish there was more to it. It looks childish, and in a way, it is, but it’s always funny.
Visually, there isn’t much to Pikuniku, but this only plays into its comical nature. The world is made up of shapes which could have been designed in MS Paint and bear mostly single bold colours, but its simplistic design shouldn’t be mistaken for a lack of content. There are plenty of secrets to be found throughout the world and stumbling across them feels like a real treat.
It’s not exactly a challenging game in terms of difficulty, and you’ll never be left wondering what to do or where to go, but the wonderfully simple story and hilarious characters are more than enough to keep you engaged, along with the constant giggles you’ll be powerless to hold in. At one point, I was tasked with fixing a toaster before being asked by a sentient piece of toast whether I was ready to face “Toastopia,” which is not an offer one turns down.
When you’ve still got two more days until payday pic.twitter.com/MqWaJ0SLI7— Matt Hopkins (@mopkins88) January 14, 2019
What followed was a dungeon-esque sequence which added nothing to the main story, but certainly enriched the experience as a whole. There are a few of these kinds of off-shoots throughout, some of which include their own minigames, like a dance-off in a club or a made-up sport called Baskick.
Even the simple act of moving around in Pikuniku is funny, whether it’s using your gangly legs to lurch your way through the world, or tucking them in to roll around, which is faster than the former. Jumping will send you in a slow flip-like rotation, which almost always ends with you amusingly landing on your head, and some areas will allow you to use your legs as grappling hooks for flinging yourself onto high ledges. You can also kick just about anything to hilarious effect, whether it’s a friendly villager or pinecone grenade.
My only criticism of Pikuniku is that its main story is far too short and could be completed in around 2 hours at a moderate pace. While there’s more to do after this point, I couldn’t see it taking more than 4 or 5 hours to get through everything, including the game’s co-op mode.
While short-lived, Pikuniku is nothing short of a delightfully funny, goofy adventure game that’ll leave you smiling long after you’ve finished it. In fact, I’d say it’s the perfect game to play when you need a break from other, more intense titles.
Pikuniku hits the Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam on the 25th of January.