Harsh Surreality: Papo & Yo PC-Bound On April 18th

By Nathan Grayson on April 6th, 2013 at 8:00 am.

Unfortunately, this one flew right by us during all the GDC madness, but it’s still hugely worth noting. Papo & Yo, you see, is a tale of one man’s real-life childhood relationship with his abusive father, told by way of a giant pink rhino flesh wad creature. It’s exceedingly personal for a game of its scale (originally, Sony chipped in; thus an initial period of PS3 exclusivity), and that alone probably makes it worth a look. But it also functions as a window into a distinctly child-like state of mind – one where astounding feats of magical realism make the world go ’round, with dream-like puzzles to match. It’s coming to PC quite soon, too, so perhaps a trailer will be right up your dilapidated, graffiti-tattooed  South American favela alley.

Escape through imagination. A child’s most powerful refuge, but it’s impossible to keep all the monsters out. That, in essence, is what Papo & Yo’s about.

“Quico’s best friend, Monster, is a huge beast with razor-sharp teeth, but that doesn’t scare Quico away from playing with him. That said, Monster does have a very dangerous problem: an addiction to poisonous frogs. The minute he sees one hop by, he’ll scarf it down and fly into a violent, frog-induced rage where no one, including Quico, is safe. And yet, Quico loves his Monster and wants to save him. As Quico, players will build their friendship with Monster by solving puzzles together and adventuring through a magical, surrealist world. Players will need to learn to use Monster’s emotions, both good and bad, to their advantage if they want to complete their search for a cure and save their pal.”

Frogs, of course, equate to creator Vander Caballero’s father’s alcohol addiction, so it’s not hard to parse the rest of the allegory. It is, then, quite a premise, but the PS3 version was decently received overall. That said, Sony’s patented polish juice apparently got spilled all over another Killzone or something, so Papo clambered onto the playground rather rough around the edges. Hopefully, the PC version will be less overrun with bugs and glitches – graphical, show-stopping, or otherwise. Fortunately, Minority’s promising extensive fixes and improved controls, so it sounds like we’ll only be struggling against nightmarish hordes of inner demons. Thank goodness for that.

Papo & Yo’s coming to Steam, Amazon, Desura, GamersGate, and several trillion other places on April 18th. How are you feeling about it?

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14 Comments »

  1. gschmidl says:

    This was the first game in a long time that I started and then did not get up for anything until I’d finished it.

  2. MattM says:

    Cool, looked interesting and I always prefer to get games on the win/pc over PS3.

  3. tehsorrow says:

    Here’s hoping there’s a fun game under all this crushing sadness

    • Tagiri says:

      Overall, I found the game to be more whimsical than sad (played it on PSN). It’s a kid’s escapist imagination making him feel the power that he doesn’t have over his own life. The end is pretty sad (I think I cried through the entire last 15 minutes or so) but ends on a hopeful note for Quico, I think.

  4. Chopper says:

    It’s a fantastic game. Though the actual gameplay is rather simplistic – puzzle platforming – and you’d think the metaphor is a little heavy handed, the art direction is great, the music is great, the magic realism translates superbly well, and the theme is as mature and well implemented as I’ve seen in a game. Worth playing for the ending alone. One of the best of 2012, no doubt.

    • tobecooper says:

      It sounds almost too good to be true (at least for me). I’ll definitely keep a close eye on it.

      What about the glitches and bugs that Nathan mentions? Have you encountered any?

      • Chopper says:

        I didn’t encounter any bugs or anything that affected gameplay, but going back to it recently I noticed a lot of screen tearing that I guess I glossed over in my first playthrough. But that was about it. God knows how it’ll port to PC though – I expect there’ll be a WIT in any case as this game is a prime candidate for the RPS treatment.

  5. kdz says:

    I always thought that the viewer was supposed to discover the meaning of a metaphor. The game’s main creative lead, meanwhile, made sure to underline in EVERY SINGLE INTERVIEW that PaPo & Yo is about his father’s alcoholism. Kind of put me off the game when it was released on the PS3, even though its artsie-fartsie premise and aesthetic seem to be right up my alley. Maybe I’ll give it a try this time.

    • Tagiri says:

      “I always thought that the viewer was supposed to discover the meaning of a metaphor.”

      In this game, it’s more about the character discovering what the player already knows.

  6. Josh W says:

    Thought this was fascinating when I first heard about it, quite looking forward to playing it, good or not, because of the totally different dynamic of dealing with and “managing” your companion character.

  7. thelongshot says:

    Bought it on the PS3, thought it was a very good game. While the message was a little heavy handed, it does get to you in the end. Glad to hear more people will be able to play this game.

  8. DestructibleEnvironments says:

    This post from the developer lists some of the PC exclusive changes it’s getting.

    http://steamcommunity.com/app/227080/discussions/0/828935361137935555/

    Quote below:

    The upgrades include:

    - Better graphics and new visual effects
    - Improved controls
    - Improved character animation and cinematics (including some facial animations)
    - More robust gameplay – lots of bugs fixed
    - Full controller support for Steam Big Picture mode
    - Multi-monitor support

    We hope it will be a fantastic new experience for you.

  9. Rinu says:

    I have kept an eye on this game, it looks unique enough to be interesting. If it appears on GOG, I’m buying.

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