How Metroidvania is it? Low Fit. Wuppo is a lot less about exploration and more about adventure game style puzzle solving. It’s sort of like if Monkey Island ate a twin stick shooter platformer.
Primary Challenge: Riddle-Solving Puzzles
Time to beat: ~10 hours
Review Info: Wuppo was played on Steam
Buy Wuppo if you like…
- Adventure Games with Multiple Solutions
- Paper Mario Style Character Interactions
- Weird Mythologies
- Twin Stick Shooters
- Cute Characters
▼ Review continues below ▼
Wuppo is a strange mix of Paper Mario, a twin stick shooter platformer, and an adventure game. Something about this mix made people think “Metroidvania” but overall to me it feels like Monkey Island 3 for structural reasons I’ll talk about a little later on. I think if you’re looking for a Metroidvania style experience, Wuppo has flavors of it, but the primary focus is on quirky characters and adventure game style puzzles, and for what it is it’s a ton of fun.
The entire premise of the game is that your fat Wum is a slob and gets kicked out of his halfway house thus kicking off his (her?) hijinx filled adventure where he haphazardly saves the universe. All of your interaction with NPCs is done with the kind of flair that you would see in a Nintendo game. Every character has a personality quirk that makes them humorous because they’re larger than life, but they’re also grounded in a reality that makes them feel almost real. Your character is a “Wum”, a species of armless Kirby creatures with tiny bug legs, and he reacts to conversation with amusing facial expressions, giving interactions a delightful energy. The game sort of forces you to learn about the different species in the world – there are at least eight that you interact with – but in spite of it being something of an exposition dump it does it in such an entertaining way that I didn’t mind it.
In fact, that world building is something that Wuppo strangely does very well. In spite of being a surreal mishmash of both cringe and curiosity, it’s all constructed in a way that made me almost believe it was real place. From an escapist standpoint, Wuppo is a world that welcomes you in and quietly entices you away from whatever worldly cares you have in real life. The overarching story is a product of weirdness, but perhaps as you play you’ll start to care about the individual characters in the game – or at least – you’ll care about preserving its world as much as possible. A lot of the game’s content is completely optional – only opening up more and new interesting things about its history and characters rather than providing any tangible in-game benefit. But interacting with all of those elements is rewarding in itself, firmly establishing that this is a game less about gameplay and more about its world.
In that vein, puzzle solutions are less rigid than many adventure games. In two of the four major sections of the game, your primary goal isn’t to just get from point A to point B, but rather you’re given an objective that has multiple solutions for accomplishing. This lack of rigidity sets it apart from other adventure games – so while you have several items to brush against things, in many cases they don’t act as “keys” gating your progress as much as they feel like logical solutions the problem. Not that there aren’t any key-like puzzle solutions, but the method of getting the key is often open and up to the player on how they want to obtain it. This is all ingenious game design helps to keep the game to that high level of immersion, but it also opens the game up to players that don’t necessarily like the 90s style of adventure game.
Of course, the more casual 90s adventure gamers would also potentially have some difficulty with Wuppo’s combat. I played the game on hard mode, but even on the normal difficulty I can only imagine some of the game’s bosses giving less action game oriented players some trouble. There aren’t a ton of “regular” enemies throughout the game world – the ones that are there go down pretty easily save a few annoying fish monsters. The real challenge comes from the 17 bosses. Wuppo is a twin-stick shooter, meaning you’ll be jumping and shooting using your shoulder buttons and controlling your movement and aiming with the analog sticks – if you’re playing with a controller. In twin-stick fashion this means most bosses are a balance of bullet-hell-esque barrages and while continually applying damage to weakpoints as you move. From the boss pattern to your Wum’s controls, everything feels just a little loose, meaning it took me a few tries to get used to new boss patterns before everything clicked. This isn’t necessarily bad, especially since every boss has a checkpoint just prior to facing them, but it’s perhaps not exactly the industry’s best when it comes to combat. But like everything in Wuppo, encounters are more than just a mechanical challenge, there is also a high level of entertainment coming from who and what you’re fighting at any given time. Overall I’d rate the combat as above average.
As far as Wuppo’s “Metroidvania-ness” goes I mentioned previously that it reminds me more of Monkey Island 3 than it does Super Metroid or Castlevania. While you can technically go back to any old area as new areas are opened up, you’re given little incentive to do so. Each area plays like a chapter, and once you accomplish the primary goal you move on. There isn’t ever any feeling that you’re exploring to find power-ups to progress, but rather you’re exploring to find information. Because of that I think there might be some crossover in interest for fans of La-Mulana, just with less Metroidvania factor and the combat isn’t quite as difficult. Because of the previously mentioned fluidity of the puzzle design, you’re also not solving riddles in the same way as La-Mulana – most of the time. There are a few that do require you to know about the game’s world to progress, but they aren’t nearly as prevalent, and if you’re paying attention to the game’s NPC interactions they’re not particularly difficult.
The primary draw of Wuppo is its quirky characters, its entertaining method of storytelling, and the overall immersion that its world provides. It has just enough challenge to it to make it more than just an escapist fantasy, but escapism is definitely its main strength. If you’re looking for a break from every day life, and just want a fun and inviting video game world to stay in for a while, Wuppo is practically unparalled within the confines of its limitations as an indie title.
Twin Stick Shooting offers an excellent challenge albeit slightly loose compared to other tighter combat games
There are some tricky jumps here and there but not really a huge focus
Exploration generally nets you secrets that don't really help you on your quest, but are still fun to find nevertheless
Each ''zone'' has you solving a specific task, but each time there are at least three solutions to the task
As far as immersion goes, Wuppo has close to the best I've seen with the way it has constructed its world
Beautiful graphics with some hilarious expressions on the characters. Sometimes it's hard to pick out your wum from the crowd
Quirky music to match the game's setting and weird themes only magnifies the experience
Each puzzle has multiple solutions, plus there are multiple difficulty levels and a ton of secrets. Most playthroughs will be different
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