Anyone who follows the site closely will know that I play a lot of co-operative games with my younger brother. It’s usually very nasty, competitive and aggressive but we get the job done. We finished A Way Out together, beat every level in Death Squared, became the first people in the world to platinum Overcooked 2 and hit the 100% mark in Snipperclips. There were so many arguments. We never threw any controllers though, only punches and insults. Horrifying insults that can never be repeated.
Pode has done something special. For the entire eight hours that we spent with this puzzle title we never used any insults. Or swear words. We explored, worked together, jumped and floated our way through the title in total peace. This isn’t because we’ve mellowed out (he’s 20 by the way, not some stupid kid) it’s because Pode is just a genuinely beautiful, relaxing experience. Even when we play games like Yoshi and Kirby we’re at each other’s throats. We still don’t speak of the Mario Tennis Aces dark ages. Norwegian developers Henchmen and Goon deserve the utmost respect for managing to placate our usual homicidal tendencies and actually almost made us friends.
There are two main characters that instantly represent the co-operative nature of the gameplay. Glo is a bright little fallen star who can float. Bulder is a rock. He can eat things and move them to different locations. Glo can also use his power to grow plants and fauna in the nearby vicinity. Bulder can grow rocks which then become climbing points, not only to advance your position but to find little environmental secrets.
The gameplay does increase in complexity as you progress. Your aim is to take advantage of each character’s abilities to reach the goal: returning Glo home. Considering these characters are basically two little cubes, they have an impressive amount of charm and personality.
The levels are really pretty and charming as well. The effects on show are always a real treat, watching the fauna burst to life on screen is intoxicating and the different ways you can interact with the environment are really fun to experiment with. Lighting and water effects are especially worth taking a moment to really enjoy. One instance saw us stand still for a good fifteen minutes while trying to work a puzzle out. We got to really examine and enjoy the environment here.
The co-operative aspect is key to your enjoyment of the game. I tried playing solo but a lot of the characters charm is taken away when the one you aren’t controlling is lifelessly lingering at the edge of the screen. The good news is the gameplay is simple enough that it is completely accessible for all. You could give a controller to a young child and they’d be perfectly competent as a partner and thanks to the beautiful environments and colours, they’d have a visual treat.
Pode is a really fun experience. It isn’t going to set the world on fire, it doesn’t bring a ton of new ideas to the table but it does what it does very well. It gives you a wonderful world to explore without any pressure with a friend. There’s a decent amount of game time here as well as a nice level of progression and challenge that will give you a sense of achievement as you make your way through the world.
- Fun with a friend even if you despise that person
- Accessible but still with enough of a challenge
- Boring alone
- Puzzles do get repetitive later on