Puppeteer was a new IP from Sony's Japan studio. It's a shame as Sony did advertise it outside of gaming sites and they also, for some reason decided to release this the same month as GTAV. Seriously why is it, the last few years companies avoid releasing anything the same month as CoD yet a bunch of stuff gets rereleased the same month as both GTAV and Pokémon X/Y then companies complain about poor sales (looking at you Ubisoft).
But enough ranting, from the time I saw Puppeteer at E3, I knew I wanted it. I'm always glad to see a new IP that isn't some grim and gritty action game.
The story goes that in the realm of the Moon, the Moon Bear King, smashed the moon stones, and took over while the Queen mysteriously vanished. Now the evil Moon Bear King snatches up the souls of children and enslaves them in his castle. One little boy named Kutaro was captured and turned into a puppet but soon learns he was destined to save the moon. With the help of an old witch, her cat, an annoying fairy and a pair of magical scissors, he sets off to collect the Moon Stones from the Moon Bear King's army of animal generals. It's a rather cute tale with some great characters, funny jokes and fourth wall breaking humor involving the dry witted narrator. Though I did feel like some cut scenes went on a bit too long.
Everything is presented like an elaborate puppet show. All characters and stages are made out of wood and fabric and move like puppets giving this a very Nightmare Before Christmas feel. Moon Bear King may even remind you of Oogie Boogie. This works to Kutaros advantage as he'll use his magical scissors to cut through scenery obstacles to progress.
Kutaro has also literally lost his head so throughout you'll have to find heads. You can carry up to 3 of them. When you take a hit, the head rolls around but you have time to recover (like Sonic rings), lose all three heads and you lose a life. Collecting moon sparkles nabs extra lives and it's extremely easy to grind up to the 99 life max. The heads themselves each have a unique action that when used in the right place can activate a new path, open a bonus stage or make a section easier.
Player 2 can control, Kutaro's companion, Pikarina (Ying Yang for the first world), similar to Mario Galaxy's player 2, the second player can use a regular controller or the Move to collect sparkles and interact with various things. Solo players use the 2nd analog stick to use Pikarina's assists. This can be tough in certain sections.
Kutaro also gains Zelda-like abilities during his adventure. You get a deflect shield, bombs, grappling hook and combination power bracelet, smash attack. Once you get these items, you can go back to previous stages to find secrets previously unreachable. There is a desire to go back and find all the heads as well as free as many children souls from enemies as you can.
If I had any major complaints it's that boss fights, while exilerating do usually boil down to Quick time events. A few enemies require Kutaro to use his various abilities and use his scissors to cut through parts but it always ends with "press X not to die."
Still at the $40 price, it's hard to complain much. It is fun finding secrets with various heads, listening to the hilarious exchanges between Pikarina and the narrator as well as any scene where it cuts to the Moon Bear King yelling at his generals is tons of fun to watch. "I'M TRYING TO RUB A DUB DUB!!"
Anyway, if you have a PS3, this is an exclusive to own definitely.