Pode is a Co-Op Puzzle exploration title from the minds at Henchman & Goon, you and a friend are two unsuspecting partners (A rock and a fallen star) working together to solve some ancient puzzles. The puzzles you come across have a Norwegian art and culture feel, inspired no doubt by the fact Henchman & Goon was first founded in Norway.
Like all puzzle titles, Node draws you in with simple game play and slowly increases the difficulty to the point of challenging the user while not becoming so difficult that the enjoyment vanishes. Each character can alter the environment in unique ways, helping to finish each level by either raising a garden with the fallen star, or raising the earth as the rock. There is a great variety in the puzzles with various puzzles requiring abilities only one may hold, while others can be accomplished using either character. I did notice some puzzles were flawed in style but teamwork, some thought and persistence had me finishing each one eventually and generally the answer was a simple extra leap or step.
The camera controls added a degree of difficulty that was never required and i suspect originally planned, its platforming aspects ruined by a camera that won’t turn the way you require it and the jumps becoming awkward because of it. Like most issues in game controls however, you adapt to this and eventually it’s no longer noticed. The unfortunate thing with that however is the fact by the time you adjust to the camera difficulties the game is coming to an end, it’s short and sweet which also makes jobs like mine difficult as there is only so much that can be said about the title.
For most puzzle titles, keeping the environment distraction free and simple is a key goal. Pode nails that goal while still offering its own unique beauty not found in other titles. The develops haven’t overdone the worlds but still managed to showcase their work in a visually appealing manner. This isn’t about frames or resolution, it’s about art where the environment sits with the game play. It’s also managed to achieve those same goals on the audio side, keeping it simple and soothing while not distracting the player and causing frustration. It’s one thing that drives me crazy in a game that requires me to concentrate, loud obnoxious music. So to the developers of Node, thank you. You’ve managed to please my taste while keeping it simple.
One of the most difficult things to find in modern gaming, is a good couch co-op title to play with a loved one or a drunk one. While Pode may not offer the drunk laughs of some titles, it does offer a good variety of puzzles to enjoy side by side on the couch with a friend. It’s simple but complex, it’s bright but dull, it’s almost a 4 but it’s definitely a 3.5 Thumbs Up.
Will Muscat is an avid gamer and has been gaming for many years, from playing on an Amstrad that his dad found at the tip to his Xbox one now. Will enjoys plenty of variety in the games he plays and while he can be found in the world of Gears of War and Halo, he can also be found writing letters to RARE asking for another Jet Force Gemini.