COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Puppeteer PS3 Review

Updated: 09/13/2013 4:16 PM By: Aaron Chalich

Photo courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment.
Photo courtesy of Sony Computer Entertainment.

I just received a review copy of Sony Computer Entertainment’s latest game “Puppeteer” for PS3.

I am going to say this right from the start, everyone who owns a PS3 must buy, rent, or borrow “Puppeteer.”  I haven’t played a game like this ever before. 

“Puppeteer” is a 2D, side scrolling game where you control a puppet named Kutaro. He was once a boy, but was turned into a puppet by the evil Moon Bear King. The Moon Bear King captures children, takes their souls and turns them into puppets to guard his castle. 

One night, the Moon Bear King smashes a white moonstone and gives a piece to each of his generals. He also takes Kutaro and rips off his head, eats it and throws his body away.  Kutaro somehow survives and finds another puppet head. He learns that there are many different heads lying all over that he can wear. Kutaro also discovers a pair of magical scissors that belong to the Moon Bear King and he takes them. The Moon Bear King wants them back and will do anything to get them from Kutaro.

Now Kutaro has to try and get all of the white moonstone pieces from the generals and also rescue all of the children from the Moon Bear King.

I really liked the story a lot, and thought that it was great. The thing that makes “Puppeteer” so unique is that the story and game is told through a puppet show on a stage. The characters and sets look like they are made from cardboard and paper, and you feel like you are in the audience watching it all take place.

The graphics are amazing, and it is exactly like watching a puppet show. Everything flows smoothly, and there are so many unique and fascinating backgrounds along with a ton of characters that you will come across.

The controls are extremely easy to learn. You can download a guide on your PS3 that you can read, and there is an in-game tutorial that will explain what you need to do to control Kutaro. 

You use the left analog stick to move Kutaro around, and you can also jump, duck and roll.  As soon as you start playing the game, you have a companion named “Ying Yang” who is a cat that will help you in your journey. You control Ying Yank with the right analog stick and you can move him all over the screen. You use him to help you discover hidden children and to find many other hidden things in each level. 

Kutaro will come across many different heads that he can wear. He can use three different heads at a time, and he can switch between them. They all have their own quirky feature, and when you come to a certain area in the game, a very light outline of the head you will need to use in that area will be on the screen. If you have the right head, you will uncover a bonus level or something hidden that will help you through the game.

There are tons of different heads, and if you miss a head or a bonus level, you can go back and replay the level. If an enemy hits you, you will lose your head. You only have a short time to run and get it before it disappears. When all three heads are gone you lose a life.

Kutaro will get items in the game that will give him special abilities.  The first thing he will get is the magical pair of scissors. He can use the scissors to fight bad guys and to advance through the levels. There are lots of spots in each level that have paper leaves, fabric or other items that he can keep cutting that will move him up through the level or across pits.

Another item he will encounter is a magical shield. He can use this shield to block attacks and to deflect things that are shot at him.

There are a few things that Kutaro will find in each level. One of the things is moon sparkles. They are hidden everywhere, and you must use Ying Yang to help you find them. If you find 100, you will gain an extra life. 

Another thing that you can collect in the game is souls. In each level there are a certain amount of souls that you need to get and you can get them by defeating enemies. As soon as you defeat an enemy they will be stunned and a balloon will appear above their head. You can use the scissors to cut the balloons and release the souls. You will also get a bunch of souls by defeating bosses.

There are seven levels, and each level is broken up into three acts. You can go back and play any level or act after you beat it. The levels are so large, and there are multiple ways to get through them, so you miss a lot. It is nice that you can go back and play through a level to find the things you missed the first time.

After you complete the first act, the bonus stage, head collection and picture book menus are available to look at. Every level has a bonus stage, and if you find it, you can choose to just play it at any time. The Head Collection is a gallery that displays all of the different heads you find in your adventure. As soon as you find a head, it will be displayed here, and you can see which ones you missed. The Picture Book is pretty neat. There are several books that you can look at, and they tell a story about different characters in “Puppeteer” through pictures.

You can play two players in “Puppeteer” and the other player controls Ying Yang. This is really helpful, because there are so many things to look at while you are running through a level that it’s hard to stop and explore every inch of the screen.

Overall, I really enjoyed Sony Computer Entertainment’s “Puppeteer” a lot. It is very addicting and fun to play.  The story is great, and the controls are very easy to learn.

“Puppeteer” is a completely new and original story and idea, which makes it great in my opinion. There are many different hidden things to try and find in each level and there are also many different puzzles to solve. I would highly recommend that everyone check out “Puppeteer.” I’m pretty sure you will enjoy it as much as I did. “Puppeteer” is rated “E” for alcohol references, fantasy violence, mild language and suggestive themes.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist with writing about entertainment news.