A young boy and girl want to have a grand adventure. They weren’t forced into it like a certain hobbit from a certain book and a certain wizard. No, they wanted an adventure and all of the excitement, fame, fortune, and everything else that goes with it. Instead they got this old man with an airship ready to unravel the mysteries of the Milky Way Globe collecting medals that were removed from his possession. Now they are precisely placed in plain view around said MWG. In Poi, it is your job now to help him catch’em all. Wait, wrong game. Help him collect them all.
I enjoy a good 3D adventure platformer like the excellent Super Mario Odyssey that just arrived on the Switch. Of course the grandfather of them all, Super Mario 64, is still the gold star standard we look at when we play games of this type. It’s kind of unfortunate that this title was released so closely to Odyssey because it’s actually a pretty fun game as long as you can overlook some mechanical flaws. Your character, the boy or the girl as you choose, controls very well for the most part. Getting on suspended wires to walk across can be a little irritating but you can get good at it with practice. The missions are simplistic at best, and the goal is pretty obvious with each adventure medal.
The levels can get pretty challenging. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to line up jumps and you end up missing quite often. While that’s part of the challenge, it’s just not as intuitive as Nintendo’s finest 3D games and that’s driven home by how difficult it can be to jump on enemies. I was knocked out quite often because the point of view wasn’t quite good enough and the jump is a little awkward to control. However, I’ve always appreciated a double jump. Give me that second bump so I can correct my error should I miss and I shall use it frequently. Imagine my delight when I first played Destiny and the hunter had a triple jump!! That’s like buy 2 get 1 free!
The music is very good! I enjoyed it playing in the background and I thought it fit the overall feel of Poi. It’s happy music in a bright world in the sky. I think they were especially proud of this soundtrack because they are very good about mentioning that Lyndon Holland is the composer. If you’d like you can hit up their site at www.poi-game.com and listen to the soundtrack to see what you think. In fact, I’d recommend it.
The graphics are very plain. But I won’t knock the art style because it’s art. You want a certain look then go for it. So I will actually praise them because the worlds are very colorful and well designed. When you take that into account with the music you get a very enjoyable gaming experience. I really do think that my son and daughter who are 9 and 12 respectively right now will enjoy this game. If I can get them to play I will write up an addendum to this review with their thoughts. Honestly, if you’re a parent looking for games for your kids, it’s good to know if the age group will like it.
The problem I have with Poi is that they are charging you half the price of Super Mario Odyssey. So some may believe it should be roughly half the game. Unfortunately it’s not even in the same league. This title should be $15 at most. In fact, that’s how much it is on Steam. I have learned that Nintendo is partly to blame for this pricing issue because of their deals with retailers, which require the digital game to be the same price as the physical one. This same problem can be seen in games published by Nicalis, where their digital counterparts on other systems are often half the price because they don’t have a retail presence on those systems. So, because the publisher decided to make a physical copy of the game, the digital consumers are effectively punished by having to pay higher prices. This is too bad and it would be nice to see a change here. Because the game controls and the graphics of the world are not even close to other games in the same price point it’s hard for me to accept that this was the best they could do. If it was then releasing it at this price point should have been avoided.
Overall I say this is a solid 3D platformer that’s priced too high for the Switch. If you have a PC and really want to try it, I recommend going to Steam and getting it there. You can also return the game within 2 weeks or 2 hours of gameplay whichever comes first. I exercised that with No Man’s Sky so I know they do it. However, I will mention that they did add motion controls so that is something you won’t get with that PC version. If motion controls are really important to you then by all means, give it a go on the Switch, but my hope is that you won’t be expecting something more than it is.
Poi: Explorer Edition was reviewed using a final “retail” Nintendo Switch download code provided by PolyKid.