On the moon rests two castles; Castle Wax Wane which is home to the Moon Goddess, and Castle Grizzlestein, which is home to the Moon Bear King. One day, the Moon Bear King decides to take over. He overthrows the Moon Goddess, steals the precious Moonstones, fools animals to do his dirty work, and enslaves all of the children by stealing their souls and turning them into wooden puppets. One of these wooden puppets, Kutaro, decides to take a stand against the Moon Bear King and make things right again. In order to do this, Kutaro steals back Calibrus, the magical scissors. The Moon Bear King splits up the Moonstone into twelve shards, and leaves them in the hands of his Generals, which all happen to be animals relative to the Chinese Zodiac. These Generals are all bosses Kutaro will have to face. However, Kutaro doesn’t have to journey alone, as he is joined by Ying-Yang the Moon Cat, Pikarina the Sun Princess, and the Moon Goddess who has been turned into a nasty old witch by the Moon Bear King.
Puppeteer is a LittleBigPlanet game in every sense of the word. Of course it’s made by a completely different development team on the opposite side of the world, but there are plenty of similarities between the two games. For instance, they’re both side-scrolling platformers. They’re both narrated by British guys. They both feature bold stories and bright colors. They both allow for customization, although Puppeteer is extremely limited. LittleBigPlanet allows for maximum customization, from levels to outfits, and everything in between. In Puppeteer, only Kutaro’s head can be customized, and it’s limited to only a maximum of three options at a time.
Puppeteer plays like, well…a play. The entire game is a play. Well, technically, it’s a puppet show. There are seven acts, with three chapters for each act. During the game, the scenes are constantly being changed around, just like they would in a real play. There’s even an audience that’s following Kutaro’s tale, and they react depending on the situation. Puppeteer is essentially just a giant theatrical production controlled by the player.
Puppeteer gains the upper hand over LittleBigPlanet (at least the first game) when it comes to abilities. Kutaro uses the Calibrus scissors (they’re really more like giant shears), which cuts through the world like everything was made of cloth. Later in the game, Kutaro gains the ability to throw bombs, belly flop, use a hook that pulls levels, and the ability to push and pull objects. Kutaro is controlled with the left analog stick, and his partner (whether it be Ying-Yang or Pikarina) is controlled by the right stick. These controls differ from Brothers and are much easier, because the partner can move by itself when Kutaro is moving, and is only used for interactions with things in the levels. R2 interacts with different things on the map once Pikarina locates them. Sometimes an interaction will gain you some new heads to wear, cause a prize-game or a bonus round to appear, or just offer up some extra coins. Kutaro can use certain heads in certain areas all throughout the game that will also result in one of the interactions above. The problem is that with only having three heads per level, and you can’t pick which heads you need beforehand, means that you’ll almost never have the heads you’ll need to allow for these specific interactions to occur.
What makes Puppeteer stand out is it’s story, characters, voice acting, and boss battles. Each boss battle against one of the Moon Bear King’s Generals is a uniquely fun experience. Some of them go on for longer than they should have, but it’s all in good fun. The boss battles really make this game special.
Puppeteer has a hefty trophy list, but I didn’t even attempt the Platinum. I had more fun just playing through the game without worrying about it. The Platinum requires a lot of collecting and doing well in the bonus segments. Also, Puppeteer can be quite frustrating at times. I decided that it was too much work this time around, but I can always go back for it in the future.
Puppeteer is another game which released too late within the PlayStation 3’s life-cycle. It was released September 2013, two months before the PlayStation 4 release. Despite the concerns of the game releasing so late, Puppeteer was very well received. However, I still feel that these late-releasing games would feel more at home on the PlayStation 4, especially because Puppeteer has such an indie vibe to it. If you’re a fan of LittleBigPlanet and you’re looking for something extremely fun to play, give this one a shot. It comes highly recommended.
Speaking of “very well received”; the next game I’ll be playing wasn’t well received at all. As a matter of fact, it released today. Yes; my next game is in fact, The Order : 1886. Straight from the shelf and into my PS4, completely bypassing the backlog pile. I’m very aware of all the criticism this game received, but I thought it looked interesting and I’d like to play it for myself before judging it. Also, it’s a PlayStation 4 exclusive title, so I feel that it’s my duty to support it.