April 18, 2013 12:20 PM | Nick Reineke
Originally released on PSN in summer 2012, Papo & Yo by Minority Media Inc. is now freshly revised and improved for it's Steam release. A daring puzzle/platformer, Papo & Yo tells the tale of a young boy named Quico and his struggle to deal with an abusive, alcoholic father who is known in the game as "monster". In a moment of desperation, Quico discovers he has access to a whole different reality where he has control of his surroundings and is free to solve problems on his own terms. Featuring a whimsical and beautiful art style, players will magically make stairs from solid walls, bend buildings in half, rearrange houses to form platforms and much more as they seek to make peace with Monster in any way possible.
In general I found there to be a lot to like about Papo & Yo. The story is presented in a clever way through the use of metaphor and kept me very curious about what to expect as I progressed. The interesting and vibrant world is filled with magical touches and is well complimented by excellent sound design. As I explored I just wanted to embrace the child-like wonder presented to me toward the start of the game and felt a noticeable loss when that feeling was abandoned in favor of a darker theme further in - extending the metaphor of Quico's struggle in a less concrete way.
As I continued further into the game I felt there was a definitive shift from a reasonably unpredictable, exciting gameplay style to one that began to establish hard and fast rules about how the player would react to the game world. Seeing possibilities in every staircase and facade quickly gives way to formulaically activating switches and scanning the environment for obvious glowing hotspots. I never found the puzzles to be particularly difficult or pose much of a hindrance, but adding many more steps to them as the game progressed only served to make the gameplay a bit dull by comparison.
All things considered, although Papo & Yo certainly isn't perfect, it does a lot of things right. The bold direction of the story, unique art-style/presentation and top-notch sound are enough to help me overlook some of it's flaws.
Papo & Yo is available for PC via Steam for a discount price of $13.49 for a limited time before it becomes full price at $14.99.