One of the great things about PAX is how you can stumble upon the strangest games that you may not have heard much, if anything, about right next to the next AAA shooter or action game. The first “hidden” gem of our day today was Puppeteer for PS3. The story revolves around Kutaro, whose soul was put into a puppet by the evil Bear King who promptly rips off his head. A witch’s talking, flying cat named Ying Yang is your companion and guide through the story but doesn’t feel like he’s helping you for the sake of being nice, but instead seems to have his own motives. Ying Yang quickly shows you that you can collect different heads that you can switch between with the D-pad, each with different magical abilities that can help you progress through the levels.
The demo took place at the beginning of the game, showing how the Bear King came to power. It alternates between sinister, goofy, and just weird with the paper mache aesthetic adding to the strangeness. Each stick controls a different character, with the left stick controlling Kutaro, who has to move through the environment and deal with obstacles, and the right stick controlling Ying Yang, who interacts with objects in the background to help you find new heads.
I was charmed by the demo but since it was the very beginning of the game, I got frustrated and bored with the constant hand-holding. Putting that aside, it seemed like the game opens up to have you juggle between different heads to solve increasingly difficult puzzles. Puppeteer releases for PS3 September 10th.