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.
Last June, I was given the opportunity to review what I later named one of my favorite video games of 2018 – the co-operative puzzler, Pode. In that review, I stated that many of the aesthetics of the game that I fell in love with reminded greatly of another video game that also made me feel emotional while I was playing through it: Journey. There was something about the design, the look, the sound, and overall feel of Pode that really struck me to the core. There was this sense of peace and tranquility that I enjoyed while playing the game, even as the game offered a bit of a challenge while trying to complete level after level. It was something that I really cherished about Pode that has kept me going back to the game time after time since June to continue playing through it – even as I know what the outcome of the game will be. My only lament at the time that I did not disclose in my original review was that it was a Nintendo Switch exclusive. Since I generally leave my Nintendo Switch for my kids to play, it meant that my time with the game would be limited. Until now…
On February 19, Henchman & Goon released Pode for the PlayStation 4 console, and the game is as gorgeous and emotional as ever. Actually, because I get to play Pode on my 4K television set, it looks even more beautiful on my screen. But now I get to play Pode for as long as I want when I want. And that’s not a knock on my kids as my oldest son, Alex, helped me with my review of Pode by playing co-op with me, but rather as I can play the game late at night when I really need something to calm my mind down after a day of dealing with my mental disabilities. Pode, like Journey before it, are two games that I have relied on to help calm me down when I am really stressing over my depression and/or anxiety. There is this sense of serenity I get from Pode that very few games out there can deliver. And that is mainly because of the overall presentation of the game that it is possible.
The art and design style utilized in the game are very pleasing to the senses. The sense of accomplishment you get from completing a level is satisfyingly rewarding as the levels, especially at the later stages of the game, are difficult enough to challenge your brain but not so overbearingly hard that it will dissuade you from continuing. The use of sound in the game, especially the score from composer Austin Wintory, is something that simply soothes and calms the player as they use their abilities to complete each level. The lighting, the colors, the set pieces, even the level designs and story presented in the game are striking yet radiant to the point that everything on screen that you see and hear hits a perfect balance for the player that often seems to encourage the player to continue, even at times when it seems like they may have had enough.
To make a long story short, my opinion of Pode hasn’t changed at all with regards to Pode. It is a game that I fell in love with last June, and with its release on the PS4, has only sharpened feeling as I can play Pode at my leisure when I probably need to the most. Pode is the kind of puzzler that can satisfy any gaming enthusiast who plays it, and it has been vastly underrated by the gaming community since its release. But now that Pode is on the PS4, I am hoping that many more gamers will have the chance to play a game that I am totally in love with – and I hope that they can come to cherish the game as much as I have.