REVIEW | Indie title ‘Patobox’ features unique art style, great plot

Indie games, to me, come in many shapes in sizes. When you have a team of independent developers that are establishing themselves for the first time, you can either get something that is low quality, clunky but inspired, or something that’s just fine. Luckily, “PatoBox” is none of these these and left me with an experience that was engaging, unique and left me craving more.

[Note: A review copy was provided by Bromio.]

“PatoBox” is entirely black and white, providing a unique experience reminiscent of older comic books.

“Patobox” is an indie game developed by Bromio, a small indie developer group from Puebla, Mexico. The game is inspired by the look of different graphic novels and comics – specifically, by the style of Frank Miller from “Sin City” and “300” fame. It was successfully funded by Kickstarter, gaining around $11,331 in crowdfunding.

The graphics in “PatoBox” are a mixture of 2D hand drawings and 3D models. The game has a black and white motif that reminds me of “MadWorld” on the Wii, but it makes use of it differently. 2D drawings are used for characters in the world, and the 3D models are only used with objects in the environment. At times, it can be a little taxing on the eyes since the entire game is in black and white, but I easily adapted to it after 20 minutes.

 

 

Gameplay in “PatoBox” is split into two different segments. For a majority of the game, you will be exploring the different floors of the Deathflock building. Each one of them has a unique theme to them and doesn’t overstay its welcome. You will be exploring a casino, the laboratory, a meat factory and the sewers. Each area has puzzle gimmicks and bosses, and the bosses offer up a great challenge while you learn about their mannerisms and how to defeat them.

These bosses are in hand-drawn fights, similar to Nintendo’s “Punch Out!!” series. For example, there’s a chef who fights with his stirring spoon and a cooking pot, and you add ingredients to the pot to distract him for an opening. My personal favorite is the dubstep boss where you have to dodge negative orbs, gather positive orbs and attack the enemy, all in rhythm to the music.

The music of the game was composed by  and works for the mood “PatoBox” was going for. The tracks have a techno and synthpop feeling to them that I found distinct and enjoyable. I especially like the “Timing” theme, which I found myself humming a lot after I finished the game.

The game’s story follows, you guessed it, “Pato Box” a duck man boxing champion betrayed by his own corporation and left to die. He goes rogue to discover the truth of his betrayal, his identity and to achieve freedom from Deathflock.

Adventuring through this plot was intriguing. It’s presented in very stylistic cutscenes with comic strip shifting and moving into frame, and dialogue balloons for character interactions. The player can find optional letters and biographies in the environment, piecing together the world like “Metroid Prime.”

I like this approach to the story, as it did help me take a story about a boxing duck seriously. He’s been through a lot and is pushing himself to find the truth and his freedom.

 

 

My negatives of the game are very minor but worth mentioning.

While I still went back and found all the collectables, some hidden in plain sight felt difficult to find when combined with the black and white background.

At one point, my game froze during the casino area, and I had to start over from the beginning of the level. This can be fixed in a patch, and I hope the console ports won’t have this problem.

 

 

“PatoBox” took me approximately 10 hours to complete. This means beating the main story and collecting all the Patokens. For some, it might be on the short side, but for the price, I think it’s worth it.

I highly recommend “PatoBox” for its cool art style, intriguing story and awesome gameplay.

Anthony Renteria

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