The Illuminerdi takes a look at the new game release of Ponpu.
Ponpu’s campaign is minimal with the only beats really coming from the initial set up. Every two billion years the all-seeing Duck God resets the world via divine destruction. That leaves you, a single duck, to save the world and defeat the Duck God and his Generals of destruction. After the short introduction you’re given a small tutorial and set on your quest of heroism.
Visually Ponpu reels you in with its manga inspired art style and its hand drawn aesthetic, however you find yourself discovering similar dungeons with minimalist level design throughout your adventure.
The World of Ponpu
In total Ponpu has six different worlds, varying from caves to a giant bath in space, each containing 4 levels including a boss arena. The enemies are reused from earlier levels, with a small variation of traits and combat puzzles, but nothing to surprise you after the first two worlds.
When it comes to Ponpu’s boss battles it’s a different story, there’s a good variety of combat puzzles, laugh out loud animations, and dialogue to keep you entertained. Then in later levels you find yourself fighting bosses from earlier worlds as a mid-level bosses, with no explanation of their revival. Some boss battles might seem unfair at first, but once you figure out the puzzle, you’ll find yourself feeling rewarded with a little dance from your Ponpu after every victory. That’ll definitely put on a smile on your face.
The Bomber Man inspired gameplay of Ponpu is inviting to newcomers and veterans of the genre alike with its simple control scheme. Your Ponpu comes equipped with a dash to avoid attacks and clear obstacles. You’re given a choice between two special bombs a timed bomb and a drill bomb to use as alongside your simple bomb. The bombs are upchucked by your Ponpu in a hilarious animation that I never got tired of seeing. There is also a shield you can use to deflect incoming projectiles from enemies and parry them as well.
Ponpu’s level design is straight forward with its small levels and basic puzzles. However, after the first few worlds you may start to feel unmotivated to play through levels and begin to have a sense of repetition.
In some levels you’ll find hidden rooms with golden feathers that’ll increase your health by one heart, until you either die or finish the level. While you’re passing through levels you’ll also find rainbow feathers that’s only purpose is for trophies. Which isn’t exactly an issue since it only requires the bombing of obstacles to collect, but I would have liked if there was an in game reward for collecting a certain amount of them. Whether it be a color scheme or a visual filter, it would’ve made the feathers feel just a bit more special instead of just a random object to pick up.
Ultimately Ponpu is a fun and simple Bomber Man inspired adventure that’ll keep you entertained throughout its 4-5-hour campaign, depending on your skill level. Developer Purple Tree Studios has outdone themselves with the art style and animations of Ponpu.
In terms of the gameplay, there isn’t much to dissect other than a few tricks to learn and levels do begin to feel repetitive and tasking after the first few worlds. Ponpu was a good amount of fun for the time I had with it but it would have benefited from rewarding collectibles, a larger selection of level design, weapon variety, and meatier campaign.
Ponpu is available to play now. Have you tried the game yet? What were your thoughts? Let us know in the comment section below or over on our social media!