Platform games aren’t in fashion currently. The classic genre seems to ebb-and-flow with Nintendo’s Super Mario release schedule. Whenever the portly plumber heads to retail shelves we see a resurgence in popularity, but in the months between the landscape is often bare. That’s when it’s time for a new hero to strike. That’s when Ayo the Clown goes searching for his lost dog.
Ayo the Clown is a cartoonish adventure designed to be inoffensive in every way. A lightweight story narrated with a friendly British accent and a toy like appearance similar to the The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening remake, Ayo the Clown has a very approachable aesthetic. However, despite it’s family friendly appearance, Ayo the Clown can be a little challenging for beginners.
The game starts with the assumption that you already know what a platform game is. And that you’re ready to dive straight in. While a basic completion is quite easy, getting all of the additional objectives requires knowledge of how such level design functions. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though may make parents think twice before buying this for their three-year-old.
Those additional objectives litter Ayo the Clown. Every level has two collection challenges; lollipops and bears. But furthermore, some levels present a unique collection challenge that will reward you with a new ability. Presented as optional, this ability is typically required to complete the level. At first these challenges will present themselves quite obviously, but latter in the game they will require some hunting to even begin – let alone complete.
There’s further interesting ideas in the game. For example, you can obtain multiple weapons and the ability to float. You can even drive a rocket propelled tank. You also begin the game without the ability to jump – a platformer with no jumping? Strange to say the least, but it’s only shortly after beginning you unlock the ability.
Sadly, for each clever idea Ayo the Clown offers up there’s also a significant misstep. For example, the game never tells you which weapon you have equipped, or if you even have one at all. You can go waltzing up to an enemy ready to hit them with a stick only to find out that it’s expired, and subsequently take a hit. The additional objectives – a highlight of the game – aren’t displayed until you collect the object, even on the pause screen. You may well end up spending several minutes looking for an item only to realise you’ve already collected them all.
Ayo the Clown is a fun platformer with a few interesting ideas. The few missteps it makes are annoying, but won’t stop you wanting to fight through the colourful bosses and friendly faces to find Ayo’s dog. You may want to think twice before buying the game for younger children, but playing as a family will most certainly offer several hours of entertainment.
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