• Publisher: Minority
  • Release Date: Aug 14, 2012
  • Also On: PC
Metascore
72

Mixed or average reviews - based on 54 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 54
  2. Negative: 3 out of 54
  1. Despite its brief tenure(less than four hours)and light mechanics, it's one of the most powerful and impactful games we've every played. [Oct 2012, p.82]
  2. Sep 17, 2012
    87
    Papo & Yo is the best indie game since Limbo.
  3. Sep 14, 2012
    85
    Papo & Yo is a beautiful game. Because is intimate and personal, and clearly demonstrates that the software is a media infinitely ductile, and can tell life stories and turn them into interactive worlds.
  4. Sep 14, 2012
    85
    Papo & Yo offers a deep reflection on the life of its designer. It's doubly impressive that this game manages to be touching and not overbearing in its message. The flaws present are easily overlooked in favor of an amazing story, clever setting, and haunting soundtrack.
  5. Aug 30, 2012
    85
    Papo & Yo is a unique experience. A way of telling a deep and touching story of violence, a drunk father as a Monster and a fantasy world to escape from the horrible reality.
  6. Aug 30, 2012
    85
    Papo & Yo is worth playing for the heart wrenching story alone. It tells about a boy who tries to rid his father of his alcohol addiction and runs into a lot of problems along the way. It's heavy material that's being told to you in a beautiful and emotional manner.
  7. Aug 24, 2012
    85
    The actual gameplay feels quite disparate from the story and Quico's journey, unfortunately. The jumping, climbing and head-scratching never seem tied to the greater challenge of dealing with the addiction of a loved one. Though they are disconnected, the actual puzzles are still inventive and add to the experience, but the platforming elements can be weak.
  8. Aug 24, 2012
    85
    That said, in an age of brainless blockbusters and iterative sequels born from a fear of financial failure, playing something as different and brave as Minority's work felt like coming up for a breath of air after spending far too long under water.
  9. Aug 22, 2012
    85
    The message and weight of the game are top notch and impressively implemented, but the bland puzzles and inconsistent polish hold it back a little.
  10. Aug 21, 2012
    85
    On the surface this is "just" another jump&run – one that wouldn't stand a chance against Mario & Co. But add imagery, unusual metaphors and a simple but very moving story you'll get a fairy tale that reminds me of ICO in its best moments.
  11. Aug 14, 2012
    85
    The daring, deeply personal story is more than enough reason to give Papo & Yo a shot, but don't expect to be wowed by the underlying puzzle platformer gameplay.
  12. 85
    This is a game you and your loved ones should play/watch together. It tells an incredibly personal story about love, loss, and growth that serves as an example of how far the video game medium has come as an art form.
  13. Aug 16, 2012
    84
    It's an experience that can penetrate even the thickest of skin, and it will make you feel something. What that is, I can't exactly say, but this is an emotional journey you won't soon forget. It's a short journey, but it's packed densely enough with cool stuff to see and do that I would enthusiastically encourage you to pay the fifteen-dollar asking price.
  14. Oct 24, 2012
    80
    Hypnotically old stuff. [Dec 2012, p.85]
  15. Oct 8, 2012
    80
    It's hard going, but worth the slog. [Nov 2012, p.66]
  16. Oct 1, 2012
    80
    The gameplay halfway between platforming and puzzle-game works and is fun although it's a bit 'limited as varieties and situations, but in the end the relationship between Chico and Monster makes Papo & Yo a very good game and the finale is worth the entire game.
  17. 80
    This is a videogame that deserved a bit more attention, rather than being labelled as simply a fun download only diversion. That said, Papo & Yo is still a remarkable experience, one of the most emotive games of the year so far and one that will stay with you well after the credits have rolled.
  18. Sep 5, 2012
    80
    Papo & Yo is a wonderful adventure. Although it has some technical issues, this game will completely capture inside its magic world.
  19. Aug 31, 2012
    80
    More than any of its clipping issues or framerate dips, it's Caballero's opening words that resonate throughout the entire experience, an emotionally raw dedication to his family that lingers in black and white, piercing each heartbreakingly symbolic interaction between Quico and Monster.
  20. Aug 29, 2012
    80
    But these problems fade from memory when Quicos adventure, after about three hours, reaches its mesmerizing, moving climax. You'll sit there, speechless, lump in throat, in wonder about the emotional impact of this brave little game – letting a fantastically cathartic final song wash you out of the game. It wasn't always fun and you're not even sure you want to play it again. What you're sure of, though, is that you just witnessed something that has made videogames a bit more mature.
  21. Aug 24, 2012
    80
    Papo & Yo's story is powerful and riveting. The puzzles aren't numerous, but are highly imaginative, proving a puzzle game should never have to recycle material.
  22. Aug 22, 2012
    80
    It won't exhilarate you in ways that games typically do, nor does it offer much in the way of replayability. But its existence proves that neither are specifically required for a worthwhile experience.
  23. Aug 18, 2012
    80
    Papo & Yo isn't always pleasant, for reasons both technical and emotional, but its cleverness is exceptional. It's a world of pure imagination, for good and for ill, and while its puzzles aren't the most challenging you'll find, their presentation is so unusual that you'll race through them just to see what comes next.
  24. Aug 15, 2012
    80
    It's the ugly subject matter that's challenging, and the way in which the game invites you to walk through the contours of distress. And yet there is something redemptive at its heart.
  25. There are some great puzzles in here, but they're presented with more of a spit-shine than actual polish, lacking the precision of larger studios' games and suffering clipping woes. But as a curio, a breath of fresh creative intent and a piece of leftfield storytelling, Papo & Yo beats games with ten times the budget and manpower.
  26. Aug 14, 2012
    80
    Those interested in games that stretch the boundaries of interactive narrative will appreciate this startling and emotionally nuanced examination of a complex topic.
  27. Aug 14, 2012
    80
    Papo & Yo is a welcome addition to the growing library of creative indie games whose purpose is greater than just engineering fun gameplay, but minor technical issues turn into major woes for Minority Media's debut release.
  28. Sep 29, 2012
    76
    A deeply personal story created with love and imagination. [Nov 2012, p.105]
  29. Fortunately we can't say we have any experience whatsoever with having an alcoholic as a father, but we can imagine its burden you'll carry on shoulders for the rest of your life. Just ask director Vander Caballero who based this game on his childhood traumas. [October 2012, p.79]
  30. Aug 22, 2012
    75
    Papo & Yo is an original and unique game. It's not perfect but it's also imaginative and engrossing.
  31. Aug 14, 2012
    75
    The gameplay of Papo & Yo won't grab you, but its imaginative portrayal of a young boy's struggles makes it a worthwhile and special experience.
  32. Aug 15, 2012
    74
    Papo & Yo should absolutely be commended for wearing its heart on its sleeve. As an experience it takes unprecedented strides with the power of its narrative and it will be cherished years on for its memorable final act. As a game Papo & Yo is noticeably less ambitious, employing pedestrian challenges and clumsy mechanics throughout. It's worth it, but unfortunately not without a few qualifications.
  33. If you're looking for an ethereal, Limboesque puzzler that will challenge your intellect, this isn't it. What's required of you is always obvious, thanks to a predictable mish-mash of platforming and box puzzles. [October 2012, p76]
  34. Sep 17, 2012
    70
    Despite a few rough edges, this surreal platforming adventure is a heartfelt, emotional experience that's well worth your time.
  35. Sep 4, 2012
    70
    An allegorical puzzle game about a boy trying to help his alcoholic father. The compelling story explores a serious issue, but the game is somewhat lacking gameplay wise.
  36. Aug 28, 2012
    70
    I cannot remember the last time I played a game with so much heart & soul in its textures and scripts. Unfortunately, although Papo & Yo is probably one of the most heartbreaking, emotional and emphatic games of this generation, the feelings and experiences are above the playable side, something that makes the constant puzzles mostly mere an anecdote, but gives at the same time a powerful walkthrough.
  37. Aug 27, 2012
    70
    Never feels challenging, so it lacks exhilarating highs.
  38. Aug 27, 2012
    70
    Papo & Yo is not a technically perfect game, and is perhaps a little short for the asking price, but it covers a topic that is rarely discussed in the world of video games thoughtfully with an inventive style that provokes an emotional response at several points.
  39. Aug 22, 2012
    70
    It's fun, cohesive and meaningful yet suffers from a lapse in replayability and all-round polish.
  40. Aug 22, 2012
    70
    A few rough edges don't detract from an adventure that is as emotional as it is brain teasing, and is worth experiencing whether or not you can relate to the subject matter.
  41. Aug 14, 2012
    70
    There is, however, a powerful experience here. Papo & Yo makes its player face the terrible relationship of abuse in a very personal way.
  42. Sep 6, 2012
    69
    Beautiful, but short. It could have been bigger, a PlayStation Network must-have, but Papo & Yo doesn't show ambition and offers an adventure with a great potential and a lot to polish. It's an emotional journey recreated through some unforgettable landscapes, however, when it comes to actual gameplay there are many things yet to be improved.
  43. Aug 17, 2012
    67
    And while polishing the game up a bit more would do little to impact the replay value, it would certainly have provided a more lasting memory than what Papo & Yo currently delivers, which is a shame because otherwise it's a game that is definitely worth experiencing.
  44. Aug 29, 2012
    65
    After finishing Papa & Yo, we were left with mixed feelings. The game offers a unique emotional experience through the creative fantasy world of Quico, accompanied by great music. But the platforming and puzzling never really gets challenging and the game is filled with bugs and technical issues. This makes Papa & Yo an unique game, but not the game it amazing game it could have been.
  45. Sep 13, 2012
    60
    All the great storytelling in Papo & Yo can't prevent the simple fact that the gameplay just isn't here.
  46. Aug 28, 2012
    60
    Though it may dip a little in the middle Papo & Yo finishes strongly, making good use of the game's evocative musical score and themes to create a resonant conclusion that may be a little on the nose, but still feels risky and experimental compared to the narrative tropes typically used by most games.
  47. 60
    Papo & Yo really tugged at my heartstrings, like few other games have managed as of late, and on that basis, despite some valid criticism, I feel it really is a worthwhile little game.
  48. Aug 18, 2012
    60
    In an age where indie games are finally beginning to bloom as a way to experiment with narrative, Papo & Yo still feels like a brave step forward into uncharted territory. And as with all first steps, it's something of a clumsy one, perhaps unsure of itself and its own limitations.
  49. Aug 14, 2012
    60
    Papo & Yo is undeniably one of the most unique PSN games you'll encounter. It makes brilliant use of symbols, metaphors, and beautiful presentation to tell a very dark and personal story about abuse, addiction, and consequences. And in that sense, it renders the gameplay issues -- from unwieldy controls, tedious late-game segments, and slightly one-note mechanics -- all the more unfortunate.
  50. Sep 5, 2012
    50
    Papo & Yo is a title of binary worth; not worth ignoring its issues, but still worth seeing through. While the trip it takes to reach the emotional highs of the story's payoff is indefensibly turbulent, there's no denying that they are indeed dizzying.
  51. Aug 16, 2012
    50
    Papo & Yo's narrative ultimately succeeds thanks in large part to the finale's pitch-perfect crescendo. But the voyage fails in its most fundamental aspect - gameplay - and it is impossible to divorce the metaphor from the medium used to deliver it. No matter how well the ending pays off, it's not worth the investment you have to make to get there.
  52. Aug 17, 2012
    40
    It's true for books or movies, and remains true for games as well: a good theme doesn't guarantee success. Unfortunately, even though Papo & Yo seems different and boasts an interesting tale and nice world, it fails in many gameplay ways, never quite able to transform its metaphor well enough for it to really shine.
  53. Aug 16, 2012
    40
    Should a game about surviving an alcoholic, abusive parent be fun? Probably not. But it gains nothing from being wearying and frustrating.
  54. Aug 14, 2012
    40
    The on-paper premise of a traumatic childhood brought to life as a playable short story is brilliant, but the wounded execution can't quite sell the emotional expression. Papo & Yo bookends a technically disastrous and wholly uninteresting adventure game with brief moments of emotional resonance.
User Score
8.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 70 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. Aug 14, 2012
    8
    I rated Papo & Yo an 8. It's a deeply personal narrative, charming setting, full of character, hampered only by it's technical issues. At just a few hours long, I completed the game in one sitting, how I believe the game would be most enjoyed.
    It delves deeply into 'games as art', the narrative and story itself being at the forefront of the experience, if you're looking for a genuinely compelling tale then you should definitely check this title out.
    There are various technical issues I came across, including an unstable framerate, moderate screen tearing in places, 2 separate bugs that forced me to repeat a section in order to proceed, and other general 'jank'. If you're a person who can overlook such flaws and see the vision which the creator is trying to have us experience, then I implore you to buy this game.
    The story is poignant, the game is full of personal touches, and the soundtrack is simply outstanding.
    It's most certainly a flawed gem!
    Full Review »
  2. Aug 15, 2012
    10
    Small snippet of my review forthcoming!! I give Papo & Yo a 10 because from the first few moments of the game and throughout I felt I wasn't just playing a game but experiencing a work of art. A lot of work, time, love and passion went into the game and it shows. I actually decided that Papo & Yo was a day one purchase for me when I read about the inspiration behind the games story. I too had to grow up dealing with an abusive alcoholic "Monster with a capital M for a reason" of my own. To say that I could relate would be an understatement. Having played the game now I'm glad I bought the game and I truly hope you will too. Papo & Yo is something you have to experience. You will not regret it, Minority Media has a hit on their hands and I for one am excited to see future games from them! Full Review »
  3. Aug 15, 2012
    9
    I gave the game a 9. While the gameplay style is specific towards people who enjoy the pure elements of a platformer, the playthrough is entirely unique. With elements that fit together perfectly and a style that is both original and entertaining, I was hooked on the game from the second I picked it up. I completely relate to that as a child (and am beginning to wonder if my childhood wasn't a clever platformer as well). The game incorporates beautiful aspects of imagination. You see Quico rearranging houses in a row so that he can cross the tops of them and reach the other side. Quico pulls a rope and houses move away to form alleyways. Quico uses the belly of Monster to leap to great heights and across gaps. These are all the elements of imagination that solidify the backstory and engage our inner child. Aside from the cohesiveness of the gameplay and backstory, I find that the visuals are engaging as well. Graffiti littering the walls, small houses, the tin roof, pipes and sewage, the smoothness of monster's skin, the children that Quico meets up with. Based on the visuals alone, I would not have expected this game to come from an indie developer such as Minority. There were many scenic vistas throughout the adventure, places where I wish I could stand myself. Once again, though, this reinforced the perspective that all of this was centered around the experience of a child, a child using his imagination and placing himself in awe-inspiring places.

    Gameplay was pure platforming. Some people enjoy objective-based platforming, where each of your challenges has a definitive purpose and meaning. "I pull the lever, which releases the doors and allows the scientists to escape from a room filled with toxic gas". That style of gameplay certainly requires a lot of effort, but it isn't necessary for a platformer. In some respects, having that platforming style limits the amount of adventure a story can have. You pull the switch because you have to, not because you are curious as to what it does. The platforming style in Papo y yo encourages the adventuristic style of play. There are tons of coves and places to hide along the way, tiny details that developers added into the game to make it more of an adventure and less of a maze. I found that highly inviting and was overwhelmed by the adventure of the game. I was deeply affected by that personally.

    Finally, the backstory was inspirational. I've never found a game with such a touching topic as this was. I first found out about the game by reading the Playstation blog. Picking through the article, I found an issue that is very close to myself, and I think it relates to a lot of people in the community. So many of us deal with issues when we are children, and this definitely brings up a lot of those emotions in us. This is probably the strongest aspect of the game. It was what originally made me interested in the game, and watching gameplay footage was what sold the deal.

    In all, I found a very cohesive game that was inspirational, deep, and enjoyable. I have found few games that touch me the way this game has, and I am blessed to have been able to enjoy in this experience, and I profusely thank Minority for creating this game.
    Full Review »