Ufouria: The Saga 2 Review – The Fabric of (Wasted) Time

Felt and fabric do a pretty picture make. There’s joy in the children’s cartoon aesthetic, in the idea of sock puppet-adjacent friends going on a bright adventure. The image evokes nostalgia for childhood Saturday mornings; for wide-eyed excitement; for simpler times. In the case of Ufouria, however, these particular times are a little too simple for its own good.

From the very start, Sunsoft’s Ufouria: The Saga 2 is cute. Adorable, even. You swap between party members with a well-animated high-five, for crying out loud. The world and characters adopt a feltwork artstyle not often seen in games, and its charm is expanded on throughout. Every new character and environment is brought to life in felt, and it is genuinely fun to see what’s around each new corner.

Go Oh-Chan, go!

Initially, around each corner is a new party member. The opening quests have you slowly gathering protagonist Hebe’s party, and they’re a fun lot to meet. Oh-Chan’s a lizard in a catsuit with a peppy, braggadocious energy; Sukezaemon is a ghost rocking a baseball cap and shades; Jennifer is a frog who is visibly done with the other three. The group adopt a sort of universal manzai dynamic, with any one of them playing the fool to another’s straight man during the adventure. Most often, the double act comes from Hebe left groaning at one of his friends’ ridiculous requests, only to jump off-screen in frustration. It’s a funny bit that’s not overused, and one I appreciated seeing throughout Ufouria: The Saga 2’s runtime.

One thing I didn’t appreciate as much was the entire crux of Ufouria: The Saga 2—the platforming. It’s not bad, per se, it’s just not particularly good for a 2D platformer. Traversal is a bit too simple, with a slow run speed and unsatisfying jump. Add occasionally unresponsive controls to the mix, and there’s enough dragging the pace down to make this joyous adventure feel like a slog. That said, as you progress, each new party member solves a different platforming problem, which I did enjoy. Oh-Chan swims, Sukezaemon floats, and Jennifer dives with perhaps the best diving animation I’ve ever seen (he stands completely still, looking bewildered, as he slowly sinks). Having a reason to constantly switch helps keep things fresh.

This can only go well…

There’s still wasted potential in this party, though. Each party member gets a unique special move that can be bought from the vending machine outside Hebe’s house. These moves have cutesy spectacle, are fun to use with fighting game-adjacent inputs, and are clearly very powerful, room-clearing maneuvers. Yet, there’s never any real reason to use them. Sure, there are enemies aplenty, but these foes are frequently part of the level design. Dealing with them using anything other than a jump to the head will likely lock you out of a collectible or even the critical path until you come back later. The latter issue didn’t happen to me often, but just the possibility of it is off-putting—no-one wants to be punished for using the tools they were given.

On the note of level design, it is largely uninspiring in Ufouria: The Saga 2. As mentioned, enemies offer some interesting elements, even if this can backfire at times. Otherwise, though, everything is just plain simple. There are later gimmick levels, with minecarts and rockets, that actually spice things up in fun ways, but the road to those is paved with basic traversal that never really feels great to execute. Exploration does help a little—there’s a pseudo-Metroidvania energy with backtracking for certain collectibles. There’s joy in returning to an area with new tools, but even that is sapped by most tools just being bought from a vending machine and the collectibles you’re coming back for being literal soft drink cans. It’s cutesy and on-brand, but even that gets old.

Not sure about the room layout but the vibes are there.

For all its simplicity, Ufouria: The Saga 2 ultimately confuses. It’s cutesy and simple enough to appear more suited for younger players or the average joe who likes the cosy feel of it all. Yet this game is just complex enough, with different platforming mechanics and necessary backtracking hampered by randomisation, that I wouldn’t really want to leave a child struggling with it. In somehow striking a middle ground between these two audiences, Ufouria: The Saga 2 remains just that: middling. Despite a world covered in felt, it doesn’t inspire much feeling.

Sarim played Ufouria: The Saga 2 on PlayStation 5 with a review code.

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