If you’re a fan of the old Pokémon Snap games, you might have some interest in Penko Park, which came out today. You’re given a simple task: wander around a mysterious abandoned wildlife park and take photos of the weird and wonderful creatures that reside there. It sounds pretty tame, but I think Penko Park has massive Bugsnax vibes and I’m somewhat suspicious it might be a bit spooky. Get a load of the trailer yourself, surely I can’t be the only one who thinks that.
I’m a big fan of the tiny monster that’s just a lemon with fairy wings. I am equally enamoured by the little beasties expertly balancing themselves on orange fluff. I am cautious, however, of the cactus creature with a big row of sharp teeth.
Like Pokémon Snap, the aim of the game is to collect some cool shots of these beasts in interesting poses doing interesting things. You’ll gather your pics in a guidebook, and even learn some history and secrets abouts the abandoned park you’re exploring.
There’s some spooky stuff in there as well – it would be rude if there weren’t, it’s the Halloween season after all. Its Steam page says you can “enter the spooky realm” with your camera’s Ghost-o-Vision.
This is one of those games that seems so lovely and innocent at first glance, it would actually make an excellent surprise horror game. That’s probably why I think it seems a bit like Bugsnax (Ed did say that it’s definitely not a horror game in his Bugsnax preview, but I don’t believe him).
The devs, Ghostbutter, also made the odd doctor sim Wunderdoktor, where you have to cure weird illnesses in weird patients. Alice O described it as “Trauma Center meets Papers, Please in spookyland”, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Penko Park had some eerie undertones, too.
I guess I’ll just have to find out for myself today, because Penko Park is out on Steam right now, priced at £10/$12/€12.