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Pallurikio - WiiWare Review

Game Info

WiiWare | Playstos Entertainment | 1 Player | Out Now | 1,000 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
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12th February 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

WiiWare has served as a great venue for innovative game development. But as many know, the service is also littered with a slew of inconsiderable games that are ambitious on paper, but really aren't worth spending points on. Pallurikio is a decent action-platformer that ends up falling in the middle of the two situations described above. Although it's far from a memorable experience, it still has some merit to it that one would do well to consider.

    Pallurikio's main menu features the standard 'Adventure' mode, an unlockable Time Attack mode, and an Options mode where you can customize settings. At the start of the game, you'll be shown a series of static cutscene segments that give some background info on the storyline. A group of young kids head into a spooky mansion to find a mysterious board game and end up getting sucked into it. To be honest, the throwaway plotline feels very drab and awfully forgettable. 

The game is spread out across 5 different worlds, each containing 10 stages and their own overview map. Each individual level is represented with a pin, and hovering over them will display a dialog box that shows some rough stats such as your high-score. Every area focuses on a specific theme (e.g., space, city, jungle) that's reflected in the individual elements found within each stage. It's something you'd come to expect if you've played any sort of platformer before.

    The objective in each stage is to guide your cherry-red ball to the portal at the end of each stage, avoiding traps and other obstacles. To get the ball rolling (as it were), you hold the A button, drag your cursor in the desired direction and release. Using this technique, you can even reach platforms that are higher up as well as airborne collectables. The "corrective shot" is essentially a double jump feature which allows you to perform a lighter jump in the air. Although you'll only be allowed to use this once per jump, you'll be granted another corrective shot when you bump into something, allowing you to climb even higher. 

In terms of gameplay elements, in every stage you'll find swirly candy lying around which will add points to your score total. Checkpoint flags are used to mark the progress of a player, preventing you from having to start over if your ball suffers damage. You'll also find a series of collectable cards in each of the first 5 worlds, and players will likely feel motivated to aim for these. Gold and Silver chronometers add to your time meter, giving you more time to get through a stage. Not having a life system in place was a good move, as it eliminates a great deal of frustration that could have resulted from players dying repeatedly.

    There's a good number of things that you'll need to watch out for as you journey through each of the stages in the game. Plenty of spike traps will get in your way, as will trap doors, laser cannons, falling spears, just to name a few. There are a few level-specific elements as well, such as giant rotating gears, cloud platforms, chained ironed balls, and more. Everything from the spring-loaded platforms to the environments themselves feel extremely familiar. There are very few moments where you'll ever be surprised with gameplay elements, or feel impelled to compliment the creativity of the developers. 

The game's visuals and audio not only fail to impress, but in some cases, they also suffer from this same syndrome of feeling borrowed from other games. For example, the visuals used in the jungle stage look like they've been done before, and the music almost sounds like something out of Mario Party. The backgrounds used for the various stage elements are hardly original and most audio tracks are either cooky or completely forgettable. Although visuals are decent by WiiWare standards, the entire presentation aspect still could've been a bit stronger. 

    The game does try to stray away from this prominent "samey" feeling in its level designs, but these rarely interest or excite the player. In fact, the first couple stages are pretty underwhelming and it's only halfway through the game when the stages show some signs of improvement. Journeying to the low-grav Palluro Prime area is probably one of the highlights of the game, as it features varied elements that help break up gameplay, and make it more enjoyable. Because of the lack of originality that's present in the entire game, the game will fail to leave a lasting impression on the minds of the average player. Admittedly, some will find that Pallurikio does have some redeeming qualities about it and at certain moments, the game can even be considered to be moderately enjoyable. Moreover, if you have a younger sibling, relative, or even a child, there's definitely a level of amusement here that will keep them playing for a while.

If the gameplay does stick with you, the game contains a good level of replay value to encourage the player to come back even after you've unlocked and cleared all the stages. The game keeps track of your best scores on each level. as well as the number of cards you've collected. This gives players the opportunity to go back and find the cards they missed on their first run-through or aim for a higher score. While striving for these can give players a limited sense of accomplishment, Time Attack mode is where much of the repeat play will likely come from. Pallurikio really is well-suited for speed runs and if you have that kind of mindset as you play, you'll get that much more out of the game than you otherwise would. Each stage even allows you to view your replay at the end which goes along nicely with the idea of striving for personal bragging rights. Had this mode featured medal requirements there would've been more to motivate the player to come back, but as is, there's still enough reason to come back to the game.

    If you've had the pleasure of experiencing some of WiiWare's more impressive games, you'll likely find Pallurikio to be a very plain gameplay experience. With so many other games on the service offering more captivating experiences, by comparison, Pallurikio's value is a little lacking. At 1,000 points, I can only offer a fraction of a recommendation and had it been priced lower, I'd be able to praise it more. If you don't mind spending the points, though, children and younger relatives may find a lot to like about this game and in that sense, the game can be seen as a modest purchase.

20/30 - Okay/Average

Gameplay 7/10 - Not bad but not very exciting, controls are very easy to understand, later stages make the game more enjoyable
Presentation 6/10 - Decent by WiiWare standards, nothing too impressive, feels just so familiar to other games, forgettable music
Enjoyment 3/5 - Younger players will get the most out of the game, early stages aren't very compelling, doesn't leave a lasting impression
Extra Content 4/5 - 50 normal stages, collectable cards, unlockable bonus world, fun Time Attack mode but lacks something to strive for

Equivalent to a score of 67% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

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Review by KnucklesSonic8

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