The gaming world has been full of heavy narratives this year. There have been stories about race, and about our existence in a complex and unknown universe. There have been narratives about what it is to be a hero, and how secrets in families can tear people apart mentally. In Wuppo, the main issue though is having to deal with being thrown out of a hotel for spilling your ice cream in the lobby for the hundredth time. And it’s so nice to take a break from the real world and enter the imaginative, crazy world of Wuppo.
This delightful little RPG-lite title from Knuist & Perzik and SOEDESCO comes to Xbox One after a short spell on PC. You play the role of the main guy, who is a little white ball of fluff known as a Wum. After the ice cream incident, who are left alone in the big wide world and thus begins your epic journey of discovery. You find an ancient Wum who explains about an ancient tale of the world and all the species that inhabit it. You’re then sent on your way in search of a new home.
Wuppo is a game for all the family, a kind of mini Zelda type adventure with fun and simple gameplay. You can basically jump with your little guy, plus action a double jump for those wishing to reach those awkward areas. You can swim as well. The platforming elements of the game can however be quite difficult at times, with tricky jumps and fiddly actions to perform. You pick up a number of items and weapons along the way, like a paint gun that fires multi-coloured water droplets to clear obstructions or knock out certain enemies – or a candle equipped hat that will let you see in a dark cave. These items are inventive and fun, really showing of the developer’s imagination to the full.
There are quite a few boss battles to be had and these can range from the fun to the bloody annoying – read: cave monster! There is a tendency to get a bit lost, a bit too easily, without the sense of where to go next. This happened to me a lot in the first hour, and even though I knew the mission objective, I couldn’t work out where to go. There are a lot of little friends to meet along the way though and they will happily help you on your quests, or buy, sell and allow the upgrades of your items. In a nice little touch you can collect little film strips along your journey, which can be played on a projector in a fellow Wum’s underwater house. These projections show the history of the world you’re playing in and the species you might encounter along the way. This is a lovely feature that really develops the world into a living breathing place.
The story and writing for Wuppo is top notch. There are some very funny lines included, alongside an interesting world that is created with decent set pieces and brilliant characters to meet along the way. Its looks are ones of a prettily drawn cartoon from the mind of an off kilter children’s TV programme. It’s all neat in level design, comes with fantastical creatures and has a stunning hand drawn quality to the art work. I love the design, especially of the bosses, who are extremely strange and fun in their creation.
Audio-wise and Wuppo has a nice mixture of excitement and melancholy throughout the great soundtrack. The effects are all excellent and work very well within the game. I would have liked a bit of voice over or even some kind of nonsense language from the characters you meet, but that’s just a luxury item and probably a sign of me being greedy.
Overall though and it’s great to have another family game being added to the ever growing digital library of Xbox One. This little indie game is testimony to what can be achieved with a small team of developers and a lot of crazy creative imagination. The world and the characters they have created are inventive, fun and brilliant to spend some time with, and even though there are times when the controls feel inflexible, and others when I was wandering around for what seemed like an age, not knowing what to do next, the story is great fun to play through, with some lovely wit and verve in the writing. The film clips are a highlight. The boss battles are great and Wuppo is unique with its art style. If you want something different, something RPG-lite and something that is a lot of fun, you won’t go wrong with Wuppo.