Platypus (PSP) Review

Developer/Publisher: MumboJumbo Games || Overall: 4.0/10

Shooters are usually a dime a dozen, especially since they’ve fallen out of favor in recent years. Not very many great games are in the genre nowadays, but once in a while a respectable game does come along that intrigues you to play it because of a style choice or just doing the genre justice in its own right. Platypus is one of these commendable games – well, the PC version is, at least. Unfortunately for the PSP port of the original PC game, it didn’t follow through.

No way around it – Platypus for PSP is borked. From the ground up, the game is a nearly unplayable mess of frustration that corrodes any interest you may have for its clay-animated graphic style. The biggest problem is the severely underpowered default weapon. There’s something wrong when you land consistent shots at a target, and as they leave the playing area (never to return) they’re still not dead. Furiously pounding on the X button doesn’t help either – it’s the simple problem of weapon balancing. The normal blaster should have been made twice as powerful. The regular weapon is such a game breaking aspect of the title that it makes experiencing the game a waste of time. It is to the point that if you genuinely wanted to try out the game with this in mind, I would shoo you away to an insane asylum. It’s that bad.

Yes, there are weapon power-ups, but due to the game’s horrid level design they are rendered useless, since they rely on a timer rather than ammo count. There will be sections of a level (usually after you acquire a power-up) where there will be absolutely no enemies to kill, wasting any sort of advantage you may have had acquiring the precious power-up. Power-ups include a rapid blaster, an underpowered soundwave weapon, and “the most powerful” missiles (which are also underpowered for what they are). Perhaps the game wouldn’t have been so bad if you could infinitely use one of the power-ups you got, or if they were actually acquirable more often, alas they are not. No amount of searches has resulted in finding cheats for the game either.

The saving grace of the game lies in its graphics and music. It’s very unique in its own right – even so far as to say that it’s the only reason to play the game in the first place – to use claymation in a shooter. Everything from the little red specks to the explosions is made in this fashion, and is pulled off fairly well. Extra levels and bosses also do appear in the PSP version, but they are made from Frankenstein-ing (for lack of a better term) other graphics together to create them. Music will also be a source of nostalgia for those that remember where certain songs came from. Many are re-makes of music from old Commodore 64 games.

Amidst some actual background controversy about the PSP version’s history, it’s very hard to recommend this game to anyone except for the most die-hard shoot-em-up fan that is in desperate need for a title to rejuvenate their life energy. There is no point to the game other than creating frustration, and helping in the development of a brain aneurysm. The game is playable, albeit hardly, so it might not be so bad if you could get it for around a dollar.

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