Peanut is a cutesy platformer for Steam, which released this week. Though I’d tried an earlier version, I’ve only just managed to give the release build a go.
Peanut is the story of the eponymous corgi, whose BAE (yes, repeatedly referred to as Peanut’s BAE in game!) needs rescuing from the villain of the piece, Veronica Vet. There’s a short intro before we move into the game itself, with a more lo-fi, cartoony style than you may expect given the painted and more realism-based approach of the promo images.
From here, you’re pretty much straight into the game, which is a jovial-looking platformer. Peanut is satisfyingly bouncy to control and has the option of either jumping on the heads of his enemies (Mario-style) or firing pepper at them, which – in practice – is another seemingly Mario-inspired touch (being like the fireballs in Super Mario Bros). There’s a trade-off here, intended for more hardcore players: jumping on the heads of enemies gives you points, but destroying them with pepper from a distance doesn’t – so do you look to increase your score in a game or progress by any means necessary?
It’s bright and colourful, with 45 levels to play through. The game’s background material hints at a more intriguing storyline than there perhaps appears to be at first; having only taken a look at the first few levels, I can’t pass judgement on this at the moment, however.
There are some annoyances – for example, though Peanut is a game that is aiming to be light-hearted, there’s a frustrating number of things that can kill you with one hit and send you straight back to the start of the level. This wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have a life bar of four hearts; this seems to be a redundant element if enemies and obstacles kill you in one hit regardless of the life you have left. The UI elements also seem unfinished, in some respects – and this does detract from the overall aesthetic of the game. Some issues with the in-game spelling and grammar are grating as well.
That said, there’s clearly a competent game here – despite its issues – and one that’s had a lot of work put into it by a very small and passionate team. Though not perfect by any means, it’s a promising debut and hopefully – with more time and funding – the next game from the team at Spikkeee will build upon the potential shown here.
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