Gaming Video Games

Pode Review – or – A Beautiful and Fanciful Puzzler for the Switch

Pode

Developed by: Henchman & Goon
Published by: Henchman & Goon
Genre(s): Co-operative Puzzler
Platform(s): Nintendo Switch
Availability: Out Now

Synopsis: Pode is a co-op puzzle exploration game about two unlikely travel companions going on an exploratory adventure within a mysterious and magical mountain. Through their unique individual talents they reveal a magical world by working together to solve the puzzles. Pode is visually inspired by Norwegian art and culture resulting in a stunning exploration game.

There is something magnificent about Pode that had me enthralled for much of the time that I spent playing this wonderful co-op puzzler. The combination of the art, setting, story, and music blend perfectly well with each other and can completely immerse the player into the game that sees a pair of unlikely friends trying to help each other along a short but extremely memorable journey that reminds me, in all the best ways, of another simple yet engaging video game – Journey.

I know a lot of that comes from the simplified gameplay and music that is presented in Pode, as composer Austin Wintory arranged the music for both Journey and Pode, but the emotions that Pode was able to elicit from me as I played through the story, the way the journey of a rock and a star called out to me in ways that not many other games have, making a comparison between both games is a huge compliment to Pode. Not many games can stand up next to an iconic game such as Journey, but I believe that Pode is more than worthy of being there.

As for the gameplay in Pode, while I mostly played the game solo, there were times that I played the game in co-op mode with my kids and it made the game a much more enjoyable experience. And using the controls of the individual Switch remotes made the gameplay intuitive in this mode and easy for us all to navigate around and solve the puzzles before us. Speaking of the puzzles, I loved how they got increasingly more difficult as the game progressed, but they never got so difficult that I or we couldn’t solve them by just taking a step back and seeing what it was that we may have missed. In fact, I think there was only one puzzle early on that had us stumped for about five minutes before we figured it out and kept moving along.

But back to the gameplay; whether I was playing alone or playing co-op with my kids, I really enjoyed what Pode presented me as a gamer. I never struggled with the controls or stumbled around trying to remember what button did what. This was intuitive gameplay at its best and the game should be acknowledged for it. And its simplified gameplay coupled with everything else that Pode does so well, it all makes for one of the best games on the market, much less the Switch, today. It’s a little indie game that proves that if you just work on the little things, they add up to being the biggest difference between an ordinary game and an extraordinary game – and Pode is extraordinary in every sense of the word.

Personally, I believe that Pode is my favorite video game of 2018 so far. The story had me hooked, the art and setting of the game are beautiful and memorable, the gameplay is simple and intuitive, and the music… oh man, the music; Austin Wintory continues to shine and shows why he is sought after as much as he is when it comes to composers. But yes, the music just adds into everything that Pode does right to make it a game just short of being perfect – and a game that I will give my highest recommendation to.

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