Welcome to Just Push Start’s ‘Mini Feature’ on the title Pallurikio. Recently Just Push Start got to play the unique PlayStation Mini game called Pallurikio and ask the developer Playstos Entertainment a few questions.
Originally on the PC and Wii as part of its WiiWare range, I found this game to be surprisingly addictive in all its manner. I mean, sure the story isn’t exactly ground breaking, taking some massive queues from Jumanji and Zathura in the form of a group of kids finding a mysterious game in an abandoned house. Throw in some dice rolling and voila, off you go to pseudo weirdo land, as the ball shaped character Pallurikio.
So firstly before the questionnaire here’s the review for Pallurikio, so let’s kick off the HOTs and NOTs.
This game is bright and colourful, a soundtrack fitting to the style of the game. And what do you do in game? Well you’re basically a red marble looking thing called Pallurikio. Your objective: to roll and slingshot yourself around picking up items from the level within the time available, shown by a depleting coloured bar in the upper right of your screen.
What I love that Playstos did with this game is its unique control mechanism. You don’t jump by pressing ‘x’, you use your left analog stick to aim you’re big arrow in the direction you wish to take off to, and hold down the button to charge up the meter. This basically puts you at inertia’s mercy and you only have some limited options to be able to save you from impending doom…as Pallurikio.
For starters you have some tricks up your err sleeve? While shooting through the air you can do another jump by simply pointing your arrow in a direction of you’re choosing and holding the button to boost. The aerial jumps are weaker than the ground ones so take that into consideration if you are attempting a hard section on purpose. And you can only do one aerial jump at a time, that is, unless you bump into a wall or ceiling after your second jump which then gives you back the ability to do the aerial jump again. Follow? As complicated as it sounds it’s quite fun and addicting to not have all the control on your little ball and having to use your brain to traverse the levels is quite tops.
How Big Is This Game?
There are 50 or so levels for you to pull your hair out over, and various well done art styles implemented for these. Like any platformer there’s quite a few pickups to roll err over, or through. Candy seems to be the thing to beef up your game score, but you can also pickup stop watches which give 15 and 30 seconds bonus time to ease the time needed to complete the level. Checkpoints are available in the form of little green flags so again, if you perish, you don’t have to do the entire level again.
Cure for Boredom?
Like lots of games of these types, being the small puzzle/platformer style, there is only so much you can handle. And unless Pallurikio grabs you completely you may find yourself being disenchanted with your continuation into the far reaches of the games clutches. A game like this would probably suit a younger audience more than an older, simply because of its overall design. A time killer definitely but the music could drive you a bit batty if you’re tolerance for the old repetitive tunes which dominate these types of games.
There’s fun to be had playing this game, it’s easy to pick up but challenging enough to bake your noodle and test your ability in gaming. Sure it’s not a first person shooter, or a high speed racer, but little games such as this can be more challenging than some of the biggest name games on the hardest difficulty.
Go find an abandoned house, hope to cross paths with a mysterious game and pray you could end up playing as a red marble.
Now here are the questions Just Push Start asked the developer Playstos Entertainment, about the title Pallurikio, its development for PSN and what they have planned next!
Oliver East | Just Push Start | Asks: Pallurikio has a unique control mechanism, was there something that inspired the controls or did they come via trial and error with different control schemes?
Giorgio Ciapponi | Playstos Entertainment | Answers: I must admit that when I was first asked to come up with a control scheme for a PSP version of Pallurikio, I wasn’t really sure that the game could be adapted to be controlled as well as the Wii version. I was also aware that the control is totally central in our game, and that the choice could easily make or break the game. I came up with a few control schemes, a couple of which would have probably made Pallurikio an entirely different experience, and went to the programmers with my ideas. We didn’t really have the time to try and implement them all and then choose whichever felt best, so we went with the one I believed would have worked best and then refined on that mechanic, borrowing from the other ideas I had. In the end, the process went very well and I think the result is as solid as it could be.
JustPushStart: Personally I loved the space themed levels, which theme was hardest to make and which is your favourite to play?
Playstos: Among other aspects of the game I was in charge of designing most of the levels, and although the “world themes” of the game were decided by the lead artist, I’ve had the freedom to try to implement my gameplay ideas. Some mechanics found their way through “themed” items you can find in the levels (think the ice cones in Site #2, or the switchable lasers in Palluro Prime, for example), while others I could integrate in the environment (the windy areas in Bakumbala or the gravity-less portions of the space station). The hardest theme-specific feature I wanted to implement was probably the magnetic platforms of Palluro Prime, because it’s really a combo of two effects: a force-field and a sticky surface, and it surely took some time to calibrate and get them moving around ! My personal favorites are the levels in Castlerikio, there I really had the chance to try something new in every level and managed to make it very intuitive for the player to understand.
JustPushStart: Do you think being on the PlayStation Mini range has helped sales of Pallurikio more or less than of say Wii Ware?
Playstos: I’m not allowed to comment much sales wise, though I believe this release of Pallurikio will be worth the effort in the long run.
JustPushStart: How easy/hard was it developing Pallurikio into a Mini for the PSN?
Playstos: That’s a good question ! Porting the game to the PSP was relatively easy, given the optimizations that had to be made for WiiWare in the first place. The game was already pretty lightweight because of the size restrictions for the previous platform. The one challenge we did not expect to take up a sizeable amount of time was attaining steady 60 fps on the PSP-1000 model. Our physics simulation engine had to be re-optimized for that, and even then it didn’t leave much horsepower for graphics. In the end the results were great and the game plays exactly the same even on that particular PSP model.
JustPushStart: What is Playstos Entertainment planning in the pipeline next? Will we see a sequel to Pallurikio?
Playstos: We’re not working on a sequel to Pallurikio right now, although it’s entirely possible if sales are strong enough with the first title. As for other titles, we’re currently developing another minis game, titled “King’s Rocket”, which we’re going to reveal in full on our blog very soon. I can spare a few details: it’s going to be a 2D, 16-bit style game with a unique visual style, and it will feature a very strong, quick and easy to grasp mechanic.
JustPushStart: And lastly if the review isn’t enough to sell people Pallurikio, explain why gamers should buy Pallurikio over another Mini.
Playstos: I really think that if you’re in the market for a minis title, it’s really difficult to find another title that can top what Pallurikio has to offer in terms of content, production value and fun. Pallurikio has been through a development cycle that is more thorough than most other games of its league, and I think it becomes quite evident once you try it for yourself :)
Just Push Start: Thanks for you time, both Playstos Entertainment and all who have enjoyed reading this Mini Feature on Pallurikio!
Written by Oliver East and Ben KagePallurikio ‘Mini’ Feature,