Ever since Marble Madness in the late 80’s there has always been some fun puzzlers out there that have you control a ball that you roll through different platforms and obstacles. Decades later Sega’s Super Monkey Ball series expanded the premise further, adding mufti-dimensional levels to make things even crazier.
It’s taken awhile, but now a new challenger steps up to the plate in Maestro Interactive Games’ Percy’s Predicament, an exclusive for Nintendo’s Wii U. While it lacks polish, there’s still plenty of fun for those who can overlook its many quirks and don’t mind a challenge.
You play as little penguin named Percy, who has somehow become trapped inside of an orb and needs your help to escape by collecting fish throughout the levels and guiding him to the exit before the timer runs out. It sounds simple at first, and it is. But as you progress, the levels become increasingly more challenging by adding jumps, traps and other obstacles to keep you from reaching the fish and your goal. Luckily the controls are just as simple, as the left analog stick moves Percy around while the right stick controls the camera, while also having buttons to jump and use power-ups you come across, such as a super jump one to bypass tricky obstacles.
The controls may be simple, but often the sensitivity of controlling Percy feels like a tad much, with no option to adjust it either. This forces those who play to take their time and “inch” their way around just to move instead of the being able to naturally move along. This can fluster most who play thanks to the timer and a camera that you have to constantly babysit to see what you’re doing, but some may actually enjoy these things.
While looks don’t necessarily make a game (all of the latest 8-bit looking games prove it), I have to point out that the graphics and presentation are pretty bland here. The game itself looks as though someone took a PlayStation One classic and slightly remastered it in high definition. The pictures strewn throughout, such as the title and level introduction ones, are also pretty lacking, as they look like placeholder images from a beta release that someone forgot to remove from the final product. The audio is also a mixed bag, as the sounds come in a bit muffled. And the music is sometimes pretty good while playing, while some such as the stage clear music sounds like something from the Atari 2600 era.
While Percy’s Predicament lacks polish, there’s still some fun to be had by those who love a challenge and can overlook its flaws. Unfortunately, they might be limited to hardcore fans of similar fare like Marble Madness or Super Monkey Ball, as the game’s multitude of issues make it difficult to recommend to anyone else. With some much-needed updates on the horizon there’s still potential for Percy to be molded a decent budget title. But as it stands now, most will want to stick to polished marbles and banana blitzing.
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Maestro Interactive Games