Welcome to the Theater of the Strange and Fantastic. It's in this incredible theater that your Puppeteer journey will take place. Announced at Gamescom 2012, Puppeteer follows the journey of a young boy named Kutaro who was transformed into a puppet and had his head eaten by the moon bear king. Awesome, right?
Inspired by traditional Japanese Bunraku theater, game director Gavin Moore said his intention with Puppeteer is to spark imagination in gamers of all ages. With a young son of his own, it was important to Moore to create an engaging tale with tons of variety in order to keep even young players with short attention spans interested. One way Puppeteer achieves this is by constantly changing the lavish stages every 5-10 minutes, introducing new gameplay features and furthering the story.
The stages in Puppeteer are extremely impressive looking, and you can interact with just about every prop in them. Stages that drop down, stages that are elongated, stages that are vertical, and stages that are top down are all featured in the game, as well as many more that we didn't get to check out. They're all expertly engineered, look gorgeous, yet still manage to give off the same homemade feel that LittleBigPlanet stages have.
When the game begins, Kutaro has to find a new head with the help of his guide, Ying-Yang, to replace the one the mean bear ate. Heads in Puppeteer act as extra lives as well as tools to complete various puzzles. The first few heads you find are a skull and a spider.
You can switch between your heads at any time, but if you get hit, then your head will fly off. Unless you can pick it back up within three seconds, you'll lose it. If you lose your head, and don't manage to pick it up in time, you'll be able to pick it up again later on in the stage as long as you found it at least one time.
Throughout the stages, you'll encounter areas that require you to wear a certain head in order to gain access. For example, right after Kutaro picked up the spider head he came across a gigantic spider-web that he was able to interact with in order to collect some shiny Moon Sparkles.
Moon Sparkles act as continues in the game. They're spread throughout the levels, and if you can pick up 100 of them, you'll earn a continue. However, if you run out of continues and die, then you'll have to go all the way back to the beginning of the act. This, along with Puppeteer's head mechanics and 2D action all invoke a fuzzy nostalgic feeling for some of our favorite old school NES games.
Towards the end of the demo, after collecting several heads and platforming his way through stages, Kutaro found some huge enchanted scissors named Calibrus, which he used as a weapon and as a tool for getting through each stage. Unfortunately, our demo ended shortly after Kutaro found Calibrus, but it's clear they'll play a huge role in the rest of the game.
With massive scissors in hand, different heads to wear, and a friendly bug-thing to guide Kutaro on his journey, it seems as though Puppeteer has all of the ingredients to become one of the weirdest, most charming platformers we've ever seen. You can expect the game in 2013 exclusively for the PlayStation 3.