Bounce, roll, and wobble around to your heart’s content with “Pikuniku”

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Bounce, roll, and wobble around to your heart’s content with “Pikuniku”

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A new indie platformer game entered the scene on Jan. 24 entitled “Pikuniku.” It is the first game developed by the indie collective Sectordub. “Pikuniku” was published by Digital Devolver, a publisher well known for “Hotline Miami” and “Serious Sam HD” and is available on PC and the Nintendo Switch.

Players take control of a little red pill-shaped blob who has been sleeping underneath a mountain in a colorful dystopian world. It is a very short game, easily played in one sit-down of about five or six hours if you just want to experience the story.

The controls took some getting used to, using the arrow keys and ZXC instead of the WASD set-up that I was accustomed to. Still, once I stopped instinctively going back to WASD every time I took my hands off the keyboard, the game opened up. Soon, I was bouncing, rolling, and wobbling around to my heart’s content.

As a platformer, the physics were fine. Though they were a little finicky at certain points, they were mostly forgiving of small miscalculations in my jump or kick distance. Every few minutes I just started messing around, just jumping and seeing how many times I could get the character to spin before he hit the ground or running around the zip lines that appear later in the game.

The game is very interactable. The villagers you encounter have collision, their long legs springing out if you run into them. Birds fly off when you come near and balls and pinecones can be kicked around. If you want to kick a villager, you can do that. Hell, you can do it twice before they scold you and even after that you can kick them again. It won’t kill them or make them mad past the point of scolding. In fact, except for the boss fights, the game felt rather low-stakes. Sure, some levels had areas that were more dangerous than others, but being set back didn’t feel like much of a punishment at all. It is not a challenging game to someone well-versed in the genre, and I strongly recommend it to people new to platformer games. It is a decent starting off point for people who’ve never played a platformer before.

Exploration is a critical key of the game. There are multiple collectibles to find and show off, along with 14 achievements through Steam. You can find and earn different hats for your lad to roll around in, my favorite being the pencil cap that is found fairly early into the game. Most hats aren’t just for looking stylish though; they have a purpose in the game. The pencil cap mentioned will let you draw on certain objects. Other hats are necessary for progress throughout the game.

Its world is vibrantly colored, with a solid grasp on an art design that feels almost like a children’s show. Still, the characters are unique despite the simplicity in their designs. Who could forget a red pill with eyes and long, wobbly legs or the avocado people that befriend it? While some characters are more one-note, each one is charming in its own way.

Whether you’re roundhousing a spider, playing hide and go seek with a rock, or challenging a robot to a dance-off, the game delivers a quirky ride that is never too much. It was a pleasant, if not very weird, experience.

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