Reviews - Updated on April 11, 2022

Relevant for platform: NSW

The Nintendo Switch has become a great home not only for projects from independent developers, but also for games with support for local co-op – the console comes with two Joy-Con controllers. Perhaps that is why the Henchman & Goon studio decided to make the adventure puzzle game Pode an exclusive for this platform. And although it can be called good fun to play with a friend, in some episodes it will certainly get on the nerves of both players.

Unexpected meeting

In total, there are two heroes here – a fallen star that is trying to return to heaven, and a stone helping it in this. They travel deep into Mount Fjellheim and strive to the top, where they can fulfill the wish of a star. Before that, many obstacles await them, but, fortunately, there are no dangerous creatures in the area. The obstacles on their way will be puzzles, which can only be solved together.

Companions have to decorate the caves with their unique skills. Both the stone and the star, when the corresponding button is pressed, create a field around them that can change the environment. The star melts the ice, thanks to which plants appear from scratch, and interacts with the soil in the same way – its light is enough to awaken the flora. And with the energy field of the stone, crystals are activated, increasing in size. A couple of minutes after the heroes enter a new location, it changes beyond recognition.

In addition, the stone can swallow cubes used to activate doors, pull objects towards it, stand on buttons, crawl through narrow passages, and even consume a star to spit it out in a chosen direction. At first, the partner’s set of skills is not so great – she slows down during the fall, thanks to which she flies over the abysses, and also walks on water (the stone sinks due to gravity) and subsequently learns to teleport. The last ability turns out to be very useful – you can move from one place to another with a companion.

Pode game review

Only a star can lift such a platform.

In other words, the second player is nowhere near as useless as in many other cooperative games. Here, all the puzzles are made taking into account the fact that each participant must contribute, and not stand like a pillar and wait until the partner solves everything himself. You can go through Pode alone, and there will be no problems – switching is done by pressing one button. But due to the fact that they tried to make the game available in solo mode, one unpleasant drawback appeared in it.

Give me a hint!

Riddles in Pode are sometimes so intricate that even with a partner it is impossible to solve them. It seems that you did everything right, you pressed all the buttons, all the flowers grew, there is nothing else to interact with, and the doors to the next zone do not open. There are no clues, and your vain attempts to find a solution lead nowhere. Sometimes these situations arise in cases where you are unable to jump somewhere because the platform is located too high.

Often this problem could be solved in a cooperative by planting each other. But if you try to do this, the game will constantly activate invisible walls, not allowing you to bypass the puzzles. It remains only to look at the passage.

Pode game review

The stone instantly sinks into the water – you can not jump on it.

There are very few difficult riddles. But the rest of the puzzles are happy to solve both alone and with a partner. Charge the leaves with energy from the star so that the stone can reach the switch. Hold the lever with a stone, turning off the waterfall and allowing the “colleague” to get to a small room with a secret. Interesting situations are found at almost every turn, and a complete passage can take about seven hours. A convenient fast travel system simplifies the process of finding collectibles, the number of which is indicated when you first visit a new location.

You can go through Pode even with a person who is not familiar with video games. It is impossible to die – when falling into a pit, the hero bounces back to the surface. And to help a partner jump over an abyss or perform some more difficult action, just press one button on your Joy-Con and temporarily take control of another character, and then allow a friend to continue the journey. A quick reaction is not required, you don’t need to fight with anyone, except sometimes you have to break your head, which is always easier to do in a company.

And the game looks great – there are no impressive locations and an outstanding art style, but every time it’s nice to see how a lifeless, stone-filled room is overgrown with all sorts of plants and flowers. And all this happens to the pleasant and light music written by Austin Wintory, known primarily for the soundtrack to Journey. Fortunately, during the next brainstorming session, these compositions do not interfere or irritate.

Pode game review

Growing bushes has never been so easy.

***

Pode can brighten up a couple of nights if you’re looking for a co-op game with puzzles and a nice style. But some riddles are so obscure and time-consuming that more than once you have to take a break or go to YouTube for answers. But the rest of the puzzles, which do not force you to click on everything for several tens of minutes, turned out to be excellent. Another thing is that the game is quite expensive – it’s definitely not worth paying almost two thousand rubles for it. But at the sale – why not, even if you plan to go through it alone.

Pros: most puzzles are interesting both in single player mode and in co-op; convenient joint mode, which requires the constant participation of both players; a considerable number of well-hidden collectibles; nice locations and great soundtrack.

Cons: some riddles are so difficult that you struggle for a very long time without prompts to solve them; high price.

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