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Promenade

Developer: Holy Cap

Publisher: RED ART GAMES

Puzzle
Action
Family
  • Price: $24.99
  • Release Date: Feb 23, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: Apr 8, 2024 [$19.99]
  • Lowest Historic Price: $19.99
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
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    A curious mix of platforming, objective-driven adventure elements, and charming visuals help Promenade shine

    Aside from helping to revolutionize platforming, and show the way for how to deal with controls in a 3D world, I also fondly remember how Mario 64 changed my expectations for how a platformer could work. When you think of classic Mario games, or indeed pretty well any platforming action game from the classic 2D era, your primary objective is always to simply survive from the point you enter the level to the point you exit it. With Mario 64, Nintendo helped to introduce something new to the world, which Rare arguably then perfected (and also, sadly, sort of killed for a while with Donkey Kong 64)... the collect-a-thon. The thing is, those mechanics have traditionally stuck to the 3D realm, but Promenade is here to prove that they can work just as well in a 2D space.

    The first thing you’ll likely notice is the game’s clean, colorful, and playful hand-drawn visual style. How the backgrounds and elements in the foreground, as well as your enemies, differ from stage to stage is quite impressive in terms of creativity, and the visuals really add to the game’s charm. The main event is really the design of each world you’ll visit in terms of the gameplay. While at first I found it confusing, not quite sure what I was supposed to be doing, it didn’t take long to catch on. Much in the same way you’d explore and encounter people (or Mama penguins) in need of some help, progress here is made by completing objectives, and in general terms these won’t be pointed out to you so much as discovered and then experimented with to resolve. 

    I will admit, at times this general lack of direction can be annoying at times, and you’ll find yourself wandering a bit to work out what you need to do, but the upside is that the solutions and your skills needed to resolve them will also vary. Whether requiring some serious platforming skills, doing a bit of back and forth, getting in a race, or defeating some enemy with a bit of creativity, the variety in objectives is still a net positive though. The aforementioned platforming sections can take some getting used to, as the method of effectively double jumping involves grabbing something and then throwing it down, but with some practice this starts to feel a bit less fidgety with the controls. It does help that, in general terms, the worlds you visit are pretty low-key, and play doesn’t typically feel very stressful though.

    Putting this all together, Promenade is precisely the sort of game I’ve continued to look to indies to conceive. Blending together elements much more familiar to 3D platforming with a classic 2D style, but then infusing its own style of control and play, it manages to be both pleasantly familiar and still distinct. Outside of getting the hang of the controls, its style is also extremely family-friendly without feeling too “kiddy” to borrow a classic much-hated term. It’s thoughtful, well designed, charming, and absolutely well worth checking out if you love platforming adventures of any kind.


    Justin Nation, Score:
    Nindie Choice! [8.7]
2024

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