Title: Penko Park
Publishers: Ghostbutter, Secret Mode
Platforms: Nintendo Switch (reviewed on), Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac operating systems
Release Date: October 23, 2022
Hey! Do you like Pokemon!?!? Neither do I! I’m kidding…mostly. Pikachoosing has never been my forte but I remember long ago when I sat watching ye olde Game Grumps playing Pokemon Snap and I thought. “Well, this is fun and weird.” I never did get my hands on that game but when Penko Park came along it had everything I wanted: photography, a calm rollercoaster/safari feel and cute creatures all wrapped up with an indie bow. No greasy layer of commercialism on this one. If you need a chill, adorable game then plop your butt down and keep arms and legs in the vehicle at all times because we’re going to Penko Park.
Penko Park straps you in the seat of a spooky little abandoned park where you are tasked to get the best pictures possible of all the fauna that live there. Just like at the zoo, the animal you are trying to snap a picture of may not be just the way you want it, so you will find yourself returning to the same areas to try and catch them in a different pose. Riding the line between adorable and spooky, Penko Park is simple enough to be a wholesome and relaxing game but spooky enough to satisfy the most casual of Goths.
The goal in Penko Park is to find all the hidden stickers and items and get all the best pictures to fill your very own scrapbook. After each ride, you get to head to your book and place your best rated images and the stickers you find along the way. This is a great one for gamers that HAVE to find all the collectables in every game they play. This is one big collectable side quest made into a full indie game. As you progress and earn stamps, abilities like turning the cart and having hands will open up new locations on the maps and give you access to new creatures you weren’t able to see the first time. You may have gotten a full start image of them sleeping but to complete their page in the book, you also need a picture of them active, mad, smiling etc.
I love the animation style in Penko Park. It’s silly and childish but spooky. It reminds me a little of the style of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends where the animation almost looks like it belongs in a scrapbook along with the pictures you get. There is very little sound to the game save for some music on the scrapbook screen and some noises as you make your way through the park but I really like when relaxing games don’t just throw music and sounds in your face. Could you imagine a game like Unpacking with an intense soundtrack and popping sound effects? It would ruin the game and the same goes to Penko Park. It is a sweet, creepy and relaxing experience where the player can drift along in different environments and get some super cute pics along the way.
If you are looking for a game full of action, suspense and puzzles, then Penko Park is not the game for you. However, if you want a sweet and cutesy game that you can relax with and doesn’t have overly difficult gameplay or controls, then this game is a great way to spend a couple of hours. It’s short and sweet.
Penko Park (Nintendo Switch) Score: 8.5/10
While not the most complex game in the world, Penko Park is an adorable ride through a creepy little zoo of the cutest little creatures and a relaxing time for a casual experience.