Reviewed by Jimmy | 12.18.06
If you've been in a slump lately because of the lack of old school side scrolling shooters for the PSP don't worry because new publisher Mumbo Jumbo has an antidote. This delightful drop of side scrolling medicine is called Platypus with has no relation to the sea animal. Get ready to smile while you button mashing some clay in Platypus for your Playstation Portable.
Before Platypus showed up on my desk I never heard of publisher Mumbo Jumbo, developer Idigicon, or their new PSP gamer Platypus. I'm glad to say this is one mysterious package that was worth opening. Platypus puts a fresh coat of paint on the standard old school formula of side scrolling shooters with a lot of fun thrown in. Also on a side note I learnt a little more about PC gaming because Mumbo Jumbo is mainly a PC game publisher who is well known for their online and offline games. For any Mac owners out there Mumbo Jumbo also shows you some love with a large number of their games avaliable for the Mac OS Platform.
The first thing you will notice about Platypus is that the graphics are done in Claymation! Yes, Claymation, and it looks great. Instantly I thought of the old classic Clayfighter, and then I wondered why this art form has been missing in games over the last generation. If you want to capture a unique feel and look, the claymation route is for you. Even though this game is clay wrapped around a normal game, the clay brings out a unique charm within Platypus.
In Platypus you control a little yellow aircraft that looks barely airworthy with its shaky clay exterior. Not to be fooled by its extirior your little craft can really handle itself with the help of a few friendly star power ups. Like every game in this genre you will be navigating levels, defeating hordes of enemies while collecting new weapons and wracking up points. Besides the fancy outer shell, Platypus is a standard as you can get in the side scrolling shooter genre which surprisingly doesn't hurt the games appeal.
One aspect besides the visuals that I loved about Platypus is its difficulty, which means it's not overly hard to get into. The difficulty also seems to ramp up nicely which complements my novice skills. One aspect that is different is the layering of the environment on the bottom of the screen. This portion which is usually clouds or tree tops moves in front of your ship obstructing your view. For a little more critsism Platypus is also light on the types of power-ups only offering a few different weapon types, no shields or other little perks.
The levels themselfs look good and more artistic then the avergage game. Although once you run through one level on each themed level it becomes repetative. This also flows over to the enemy designs which I disregared because of the claymation graphics. At times the fighters coming at me actually looked worse then my little yellow fighter. I even had a good laugh a few times because of these clayed modelled mishmash of sprits. If Platypus had a little more originality in the design of the overal ships it might of made a big different and helped deiferancate it from other shooters even more.
Platypus also supports multiplayer which is a basic mode that just ads up your score against the other player. I tried on a few occasions to find a server to join and I had no luck. It's not surprising because this Platypus isn't a well known game. For other modes there is a survival mode which is a bland recap of the levels where you can't be hit or its game over. The goal of this mode is to see how long you can travel without being shot out of the sky. That's it, not much to the game modes.
Platypus from Mumbo Jumbo is as basic as you can get for a shooter. What makes Platypus stand out is the graphics that have been wrapped in an layer of clay, this brings out a unique charm and the quality that pushed me up from a 5 to 6. If you have a few extra bucks or want an easy going shooter, Platypus will surfice as a nice weekend distraction.