Papo & Yo Review: A Boy And His Monster

It sure does look good, though! The world is charged with color, and all of the character models look great. Animations are smooth, model designs are iconic, and the use of monochrome colors and geometric shapes to offset the vibrant griminess of the favela works fabulously. It’s a great-looking game, and it only looks better in motion.

Likewise, the sound design is great. For example, footsteps sound different any each surface you run on, even if the surface takes up a marginal amount of space. It’s not an uncommon thing in gaming to have different footstep noises, but it’s the kind of attention to detail I didn’t expect out of an indie title. On top of this, the music is excellent and sets the mood well. I enjoyed every track, from the slower ethereal ambience of the early levels to the charged, hectic sounds of Monster’s “angry” theme.

Papo & Yo deals in some fundamental truths about abuse, addiction, and maturity, and I certainly didn’t expect it. It may be short and easy, but it uses games to convey a psychological message that would be otherwise impossible without interaction. If you have a family member going through an addiction of some kind – especially alcohol – or you have suffered abuse at some point in your life, you really need to play Papo & Yo. If you are one of the lucky people who have never experienced abuse, you should play Papo & Yo anyway. It’s a beautiful and haunting game, and you won’t regret it. Just don’t expect your journey to last long or challenge you in any way.

Pros

  • Excellent art style
  • Plot dealing with mature themes in a unique way
  • Unique setting and narrative
  • A few truly great puzzles

Cons

  • Most puzzles are boring and easy
  • Allegory made obvious too early
  • Very short

Final Score: 75/100


Game Front employs a 100-point scale when reviewing games to be as accurate about the experience as possible. Read the full rundown of what our review scores mean.


James Murff’s other work can be seen here, and you can follow him on Twitter at @jamesmurff.

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