Pikuniku is a short and hilarious platformer developed by Sectordub and published by Devolver Digital. The basic idea is that the adorable, minimalistic world is controlled by Mr Sunshine. He says he’s giving everybody free money! What a nice guy, right? You could not be more wrong, as Mr Sunshine has much darker intentions, and it’s up to you to stop him!
But is Pikuniku worth the effort? Well, let’s find out!
You play as a little red character called Piku, but there’s also an orangy yellow version of you called Niku. You can play as them both in the cooperative mode, which I’ll come on to in a minute, but in the main game Piku is your guy. You wake up in a dark cave where you’ll learn to run, jump, kick, and swing from hooks. Then you are released out into the world to explore and enjoy the game!
Although you can’t access every area straight away, there’s still a bunch of exploring to be done. I absolutely love roaming around the villages, meeting new NPCs, and seeing what side quests they had for me. There are lots of collectibles to find and hats to be worn. There’s also a mini game called Baskick, where you literally kick a watermelon around a pitch and into a goal. There’s even an NPC to play against in single player mode, or you can battle a friend using the two Joy Cons or two pro controllers if you have them.
The story and dialogue of Pikuniku is just excellent. Each weird, armless villager has their own unique thing to say and story to tell. This game has somehow achieved the perfect balance between a strong story and lots of time to explore freely. Clear objectives make sure you won’t get stuck or lost, and quirky little boss fights and challenging platforming sections help keep the game fresh from start to finish.
But, of course, there are a fair few things that could be changed and improved. First of all, although I love the minimalistic art style, and it works excellently in most cases, there are a few areas that are a bit bland. A couple of places are really just one brownish colour and have no real gameplay beyond jumping and some rather boring puzzles. Luckily, these areas are few and far between, so it’s not too big of a deal.
Secondly, Pikuniku is absolutely packed with hilarious mini-games and little extras, but sadly once you’ve completed these, there’s no way of going back and doing them again, unless you want to delete your progress and start over.
Thirdly, some of the items you collect have absolutely no purpose. Although they look nice in your inventory, I was always waiting for the non-existent moment I’d suddenly work out exactly what something was for.
Finally, Pikuniku is super short. In my opinion that last one’s not really a negative, as it means you can complete it all in one sitting and fully enjoy the story. I know some people, often including me, like big long games instead, but it was really nice to take a break from everything else to simply roll around and kick things.
Now on to the cooperative mode. A completely new and different sort of game, still called Pikuniku, can be accessed from the main menu. Two players can play couch co-op with the two Joy Cons or two Pro Controllers, and one player controls Piku and the other takes charge of Niku.
I have to say, I was not a huge fan of the multiplayer mode. It stripped away all the colourful backgrounds, NPCs, quirky boss fights, funny story lines, and exploration that I love about the single player game. Leaving only the beige coloured backgrounds and boring puzzles that simply aren’t interesting. With the exception of a few cool levels, I just don’t think the multiplayer is very fun.
Despite the negatives, Pikuniku is still an enjoyable and overall good game. The characters are charming, the art is cute, the whole concept is unique, the story is funny, and the soundtrack is fabulous.
I’d definitely recommend this to anyone, especially if you can get it at a discounted price. Pikuniku is a good game. It’s just not perfect.
Pikuniku review provided by Nintendo Link
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release Date: January 24, 2019
Price: $12.99, £11.69, €12.99
Game Size: 451MB
Great platforming and boss fights
Great story and characters
Some areas are pretty boring
Weak co-op mode
Some items are useless