It is a relief when you come across a game that manages to grab your attention and actually retain it long enough to see it through. That is what the team at PolyKid successfully created. Simply put, POI is an adorable gem of a 3D platformer.
An old Master Explorer enlists the help of twins to recover some scattered Explorer Medallions he collected many years ago with his wife and ultimately the prized milky Way Globe. POI is played across four different worlds. Travelling by means of an airship, the player can experience the various worlds and environments of POI. Each world has its own charming character, and what would a platformer be without the challenge of enemies? Love it or hate it, even these little rascals are cute, but do not be fooled. On a few occasions I found myself having to take deep breaths in order to regain my composure due to the fact that I had been reckless enough to forget that they were not cute little creatures but enemies that will take your lives while hurling rocks at you! Thankfully, these can be dealt with by means of jumping on them or getting your revenge by kicking objects right back at them.
The worlds in POI will require you to earn Explorer Medallions in order to unlock them. So yes, this will mean you spend a large amount of time on one world until you have collected enough Medallions to explore the next. This is not all doom and gloom, however. With each return to a world, there will be noticeable differences that act as sort of level-up markers. More enemies here and there, more challenging platforms, action sequences and bosses. As you continue to get better, there are more things to do.
There are gold coins to be collected as the player works their way through the various obstacle courses and environments. These serve as the in-game currency which can be used to purchase items from the Master Explorer to help you throughout the game. One of the items which I initially scoffed at was an item that lets you keep a heart (life). My advice would be to GET IT! For the love of snails with backpacks, get it. When you lose all your lives, you also will lose the coins that you would have earned on your run. See why you need that heart?
As POI is an explorer-themed game, besides having to jump, swim and roll your way through the worlds, you will have the opportunity to engage in explorer activities. A map of the worlds will show certain points of interest, which can lead to some rather cool finds like fossils, collectables and outfit changes.
You are able to play as either twin during the course of the game, changing between them as you wish. They do not have any special unique abilities and are identical in this regard. While playing this game, you may find yourself frustrated from time to time due to the sensitivity and sometimes finicky-ness of the controls. This tends to be a particular nuisance when you’ve progressed rather far only to have a simple unintentional flick of the stick throw you all the way down (or straight onto those deceptively cute enemies). But this is not a recurring thing, thankfully. Yes, as you may have noticed that I mentioned methods of dealing with enemies that do not involve physical fighting. That is because the protagonists in POI are unable to do so – even boss fights! *Insert deep sigh here*
POI’s environments have been beautifully created with the attention to it being a light-hearted and spirited game. Colourful scenery and textured settings make it visually entertaining.
PolyKid did a great job at adding just the right amount of elements to keep your interest and challenge you every now and again. For children and your inner-child too.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Replay Value - 7/10
I was impressed at POI’s take on a platformer which left me entertained, curious and pleasantly surprised. From children to adults, this is one for all to enjoy.