Beauty in Simplicity

By: Devonte Griffiths

Game: Pikuniku
Platform: Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows, Mac
Rating: E for Everyone
Price: $12.99

With the increasingly complexity of games and the subject matter they portray, it’s always nice to remember the games that embrace pure simplicity. Pikuniku makes itself distinct with its strange premise in a bizarre world, and absolute refusal to take anything seriously.

The game focuses on Piku, a silent, peculiar red creature, that explores a new world that is being stripped of its resources by the evil businessman Mr. Sunshine. To stop his oppressive reign, you help the people of a nearby town with their problems and gather tools to help you explore the world. The story is very simple and the game’s tone is consistently light despite the villain’s plans. The real enjoyment of the game comes from the lackadaisical journey that Piku goes through.

The aesthetics of the game serve to perfectly capture the feeling of a childish wonder. The minimalist character design, pastel backgrounds and bright colors make the player feel like their exploring a world created by a young, creative child. Though much of the characters share the same body type, they distinguish themselves with their own silly quirks like being apathetic to everything or being obsessed with the process of creating art. Despite appearing overly childish, the game’s dialogue covers several humorous subjects that are relatable to agents.

As a side scrolling platformer, Pikuniku is very basic in its execution. The puzzles are easy enough for children to understand and Piku doesn’t gain much abilities over the course of his journey. The variety of the game is what makes it so special. From having a dance battle, sneaking past robots, and entering an alternate toast universe, the multitude of scenarios Piku is placed in make the game a blast to play from start to finish.

The main downfall of Pikuniku is its short length. The game can be beaten within 4 hours with an extra hour if you decide to look for all of the collectibles. The game does contain a co-op mode with some extra missions, but that doesn’t add much to the game’s runtime. Though it is criminally short, the wonderful world of Pikuniku creates a remarkable experience that should be played by everyone.