Wuppo Review (PS4)

Wuppo, from its title all the way to its gameplay, is a peculiar game. It is a 2D RPG with a design that can be described as a child’s coloring book. The world of Wuppo is an endearing and colorful sight full of adventures and new “wums” to meet. Wums are the most intelligent creatures of the game who have successfully built a tall tower known as the Wum House. This is where the game begins.

You take control of a particularly chubby and lazy wum. After spilling ice cream all over the floors of the Wum House, you get evicted from the room. But it isn’t a normal eviction; you get thrown off the balcony of one of the top levels and fall all the way into what seems like an entirely different world. Your goal is to find your way back home. This is no easy task, as you must fight bosses, solve puzzles, and make new friends in order to return.

Wuppo offers the traditional easy to hard game modes to fit your play style. Health is presented as “happiness.” Defeat enemies, make friends, or eat certain types of food to gain happiness points. If your happiness falls to zero you die, but, don’t worry, weird paint-filled watering cans will save a copy of yourself. You will resurrect in the cans and continue on your way.

After all your hard work to return home, you won’t be received with open arms, and not just because wums don’t have them. Within two days you must find a way to obtain a ticket to Popocity, the biggest city in the wums’ world. You will have to explore all of the Wum House and visit many residents to obtain it. Once obtained, you can head to the train station, which feels a little too much like the real thing. If you miss the train, you have to wait three or four minutes real time for the next one. It’s a realistic but obnoxious addition to the game. Don’t worry, the other means of transportation includes trams with a 3o-second wait, or instant tube travel.

Popocity has new bosses, side quests, and characters to see. Here, the game’s open format becomes more prominent. It doesn’t  outright give you an objective; it lets you explore and talk to a variety of wums to discover your purpose.  The main goal is to earn enough credit for the city to expand. Credit can be earned through a multitude of ways. Completing jobs is the honest way to go, but the lil’ wums work on their own and can technically earn the credit themselves if you leave the game on long enough.

After the credits are earned, the last step in the city is eradicating the rat problem; or as the game calls the rats, knefts. Prepare for a big boss fight in order to do so! Boss battles are each pretty straightforward. You’ll use your weapon, some form of paint glob gun or launcher, to shoot at the bosses while avoiding their attacks. They tend to follow a pattern, and once you adapt to that pattern you should be good to go. The bosses aren’t at the level of Dark Souls, but they can be tough and increase in difficulty as the game progresses. They all have unique designs and you’ll be forced to change your combat style for each one. Boss battles are a core part of Wuppo and something to look forward to.

Wuppo emphasizes combat more than puzzles and platforming, but it does include portions of each. Often to get to the next part of the map or sequence of the game, you must complete environmental puzzles that are not very challenging. The harder part is figuring out where you are and where you need to go. This can be frustrating as the game does not offer a legitimate navigation  system. You might just have to memorize the different locations. As for the platforming, it’s a lot of jumping from branch to branch or building to building. Luckily, falling doesn’t usually mean death. It just means you have to make your way back to the top.

Customization in the game is present but fairly limited. There are a variety of color choices and a couple funky hats to choose from. Certain foods will also change your wum’s weight. Making my wum a fat, pink ball was definitely a plus. However, its storybook graphics restrict the degree to which customization can be offered.

As in the traditional RPG fashion, the player can choose to complete tasks in an unethical way or righteous way. The dialogue, which is all in speech bubbles, progresses the story in a humorous and entertaining way. Some of the wum’s dialogue choices can be hilariously mean, but ultimately play little in how the game progresses. The game could’ve utilized your choices to shape the direction more.

Wuppo progresses in the same format of explore, meet wums, and defeat bosses. It is fairly repetitive but is not so long that it becomes tiring. I took thirteen hours to complete the main story along with a couple side missions. The length of play depends on how much exploration and side quests one engages. The side quests were all fairly basic and lacked enticing rewards which lead me to stick to the main story line, which was far more entertaining. There is extensive lore available through in-game filmstrips, which is a nice touch.

Wuppo has much to offer. Its visuals, humor, and fun boss battles make for a solid experience. It is a lighthearted and fun game to play, through and through.

This review is of the PS4 version of Wuppo. The game is also available on PC and Xbox One.

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