GamingReview: Penko Park

Review: Penko Park

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Already missing the spooky vibes of October? Looking to bring them back and polish off your photography skills at the same time? Well, I have the perfect game for you!

You’re welcomed into the abandoned Penko Park by none other than its cutest resident Penki with simple instructions: look around and snap some pictures of the weird and wonderful creatures that reside in every crevice of the abandoned reserve. You’ll explore mushroom caves, magma-filled caverns, lakes, overgrown jungles and even a rundown cafe that was once upon a time occupied by humans.

If you’ve ever seen or delved into Pokémon Snap on the Nintendo Switch, you’ll already be familiar with the simple mechanics of Penko Park. 

As our beloved void-eyed buddy Penki accompanies you on-rail through the different regions of the park, you’ll encounter an array of creatures ranging from the confused pond-dwelling Nauplii, mountain-scaling Goato and the cute magma sprites Akakai (seen above). Not all is as it seems though. You’ll need to keep your wits as you explore, as you’ll never know just when a creature will change face in a split second. 

Once you either run out of photos or complete a level, you’ll get the chance to rifle through your new snaps and place them into your photo album. You’re marked on a scale of 3 stars on each photo, with 3 being the best. The more photos you take, the more chance you have of receiving the perfect 3-star photo — these are then turned into experience points that can unlock new areas and abilities.

Penki will watch over you as you fill your album

As you progress you’ll be doing more than just snapping pictures. With each run through and ability you unlock, you’ll be able to interact more with the park around you — this means you’ll be able to pick up scattered items, clear shrubbery in your way and throw penko balls at the creatures you encounter. Don’t worry, these balls won’t hurt any of the creatures, but instead, you can coax some out of their hiding places and even have them perform tricks to frame your next perfect snap. 

Each creature in the park has its own unique checklist of different pictures you’ll need to take of them. Some of these will require a little thinking on your part on how to make the monsters act a certain way or in some cases not act at all. Its simplicity and easy playability will make you want to come back for more each time you put it down.

Though there are only 3 small stages to explore, you’ll never be doing the same run-through twice. The forest, volcanic and underwater levels all have their own diversity and creatures to find all with unique ways of interacting with the player. There is nothing more satisfying than landing the perfect 3-star shot for your album. 

The creatures of Penko Park are nothing short of charming. Developers Ghostbutter clearly knows how to create cute and memorable monsters without needing the familiarity of characters that Pokémon Snap needs. 

With the scope to add more levels and creatures in the future, if you’re looking for a game to sit down with for a few hours and relax with, Penko Park might just be the perfect one for you. You’re likely to be able to complete the game within a few hours, but if you’re anything of a perfectionist like myself, you’ll be spending a lot more time trundling through the shrubs, waves and magma searching for each variant of the loveable monsters in the park trying to get the perfect 3-star album. 

SUMMARY

+ Beautiful art and music
+ Relaxing completionism
+ Charming and loveable creatures
+ Short, cheap and replayable
- Waiting for the creatures to strike the right pose can sometimes be tedious if they don't
(Reviewed on PC)
Jordan Kirkpatrick
Jordan Kirkpatrick
21, Scottish, journalism student. Loves gaming, pop culture and anime.

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Review: Penko Park+ Beautiful art and music <br /> + Relaxing completionism <br /> + Charming and loveable creatures <br /> + Short, cheap and replayable <br /> - Waiting for the creatures to strike the right pose can sometimes be tedious if they don't <br /> (Reviewed on PC)