Plumbers don’t get all the glory.
Where did this game come from? That is a question I asked myself frequently while playing Poi. Turns out this whimsical platformer was a failed Kickstarter that then ended up on Steam earlier this year. It certainly wears its inspirations on its sleeve, but that never stops it from being a great game.
I have a soft spot for games in the same vein as Mario 64. That is my bar. One of the greatest platformers ever created, even to this day. So when something mimics that design I usually take notice. A lot of games attempt it, but so few get it right. I have to hand it to the developers here though, this game is really well-designed and a ton of fun to play.
Platforms: XB1 (reviewed), PS4, PC
Price I’d Pay: $19.99
The story centers around two kids who bump into an explorer who just happened to lose a bunch of medallions. Of course they agree to help out, and the collect-a-thon begins. The hub is based on an airship and each world is themed, complete with its own set of medallions to collect. There is of course one medallion for collecting a hundred coins because of course there is.
Each area feels different but familiar. The traditional level tropes apply as we get the snow area, the lava area, and so on. Each level has a set of medallions to collect, all with their own theme. Similar to Mario 64 some of the tasks will alter the level a bit in order to accommodate the challenge. Again it wears its inspirations on its sleeve, but none of it works if the platforming isn’t up to par.
Thankfully this is one area where the game shines. Yes, the moves are familiar. Triple jumps, rolls, and directional acrobatics are abound, and all of them feel great. There is a wall slide move as well which is a lot more forgiving than our Italian plumber’s. I was able to cheese some areas thanks to the stickiness of the move. Still the game feels great with an Xbox One controller, and the challenges work thanks to its design.
Visually the game looks like a remastered N64 game. Simply geometry mixed with sharp resolution. Fitting I guess considering the game’s inspirations. Players can also opt to play as either character at any time, they have no differences game play wise, but there are hats that can be obtained to dress them up. It isn’t vital, but it sure is fun.
I really enjoyed Poi. It scratched that itch I didn’t know I still had after Yooka Laylee and Snake Pass. It takes all the ideas from one of my favorite games of all-time and injects its own personality. It also helps that it plays like a dream. Fans of that era of platformers should definitely not sleep on this game. It is well worth the time and money.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.