When I was born, my aunt thought it would be the cutest thing if she decorated my room with clowns. Lamps, dolls, figures, all watching me sleep like that one scene in Poltergeist. This only strengthened my wariness about clowns, feeling uneasy about these strange creatures. I’m not Coulrophobic, but it is my instinct to perceive them as a threat in nature. However, Ayo the Clown has slightly lifted the ward I’ve constructed between the clowns and myself. Built in Unity, this platformer combines challenging puzzles, side scrolling action and character interaction in an adorable game world that almost feels a bit like Yoshi’s Story on the Nintendo 64. How could you be afraid of this little box-headed clown? His name is Ayo, as if he’s already greeting you the moment you even know he’s around. He has a little balloon to lift him up like a double jump mechanic, and a bunch of cute friends like the filthy turtle who didn’t shower for five days and got so greasy he slipped out of his shell (they’re actually fused to the body in-real-life so we’ll skip on applying biology). Even the enemies are cute like the jumping sharks and Tank Daddy (that’s a boss fight, he’s the daddy of tanks). Ayo the Clown does not skip out on weird character design, and in fact utilizes it to the max. Starting with the basic grunts, to even personifying factory machines in the level background, the game world is full of life and constant animation.
The game presents a wealth of obstacles to challenge the player, and if you think you’re a platformer pro, then maybe you are, who am I to question your skills? Though you may find yourself dying again and again, starting at checkpoints over and over, until you finally figure out the rhythm of moving set pieces, or the firing rate of a wall turret. In a sense, there are even moments where precise jumps are crucial to survival, and almost feels like the original Mega Man in that aspect. When encountering NPC’s, typically a tiny quest is started, and aside from just surviving to the end of the level, you find yourself looking for hidden or hard to access areas in order to complete these side quests. At one point, I had the filthy turtle on my back for a couple zones until I found his brother (which I’ll call flippy since he apparently ends up on his back a lot). Ayo the Clown has a variety of gameplay mechanics, cute characters (I still don’t like clowns) and some serious challenge. I’d even go as far as to say that even those who don’t typically play or enjoy platformers, here’s a new one for you that’s an excellent pick up and play. The game is currently in development, and a kickstarter is slated for a January 10th, 2017 launch.
Download the pre-alpha demo here.
Played it? We’d love to know what you thought about it.
This article is written by the fantastic @thenegaverse