Papo & Yo: The imagination restrained by reality
What kind of person are you? Looking back, will you be remembered fondly for your kind acts? Or will the bridges you've burned earn you only loathing? People go to ridiculous extents to leave their physical "mark" on the world, to leave their name printed for others to see. They don't realize that with time the name will have no bearing for some anonymous person looking at it. Others can't connect with who you were unless the face behind the name impacted them in some way. Almost humorously, some of us make strides to isolate ourselves from entire groups of people, when they are the ones that determine how you would be remembered. Should someone look back one day down the line, what kind of person were you?
Plot & Yo: The rare opportunity of experiencing ones past.
Papo & Yo's focal point lies within it's presentation. You take on the role of Quico, a child whom has retreated into an imaginary world loosely based on the South-American lands he lives in. Accompanied by Lula, an action figure come to life, and Monster, a lumbering beast with a short temper. The trio make their way through Quico's world and solving problems in ways only a child would see possible. Pulling on bare walls to bring out steps or placing wings on buildings to watch them chirp and fly away. It's charming through and through, and within your experience lies layers of symbolism, drawn from the real-life experiences of developer Vanderlei Caballero, you are offered a door into another human being's world.
Gameplay woes: Daydreaming does little for the present.
The actual gameplay is where Papo & Yo falters. Progress is made through puzzlesthat rarely push your limits of logic. Most obstacles are overcome by running around until you can find something to interact with. Puzzles often tend to hand-hold the player through liberal use of cutaway camera pans to the point that they seem to be solving themselves for you. You never feel smart when you finish a puzzle, you feel more as though you've just stumbled upon the answer. By being so simplistic Papo & Yo creates two glaring problems, the gameplay itself becomes a chore obstructing your way between the plot advances that you want to see. The easy puzzles also let you burn through the content too quickly, by the time the puzzles seem to be increasing in complexity the story has already reached it's conclusion within less than four hours.
Epilogue: What's already done will inspire the future.
Papo & Yo is a prime example of video games as an art form. You experience one person's vision into the past firsthand through a medium that can never be replicated in the same way a painting or book can. It's a serious shame that it never gets to flourish in the game half of the experience and can't push it's challenges as far as the imagination stretched plot-wise. Papo & Yo offers a good experience, but it asks for too much for what was only a peek into another world that closes much too suddenly.