Indie Developer TequilaByte Studios brings us Sumoman, a puzzle platformer aimed to keep you entertained by its comedic take on the traditional platform genre. Balancing and maneuvering your character while traversing throughout the many levels will be the most challenging part of this game. While this does make it a unique experience, it also hinders it from being something truly great.
Sumoman begins with our hero returning home from a recent tournament, only to find that everyone in his town has been cursed and put to an everlasting sleep. The only way to wake them up is to travel across the land and journey through various platforming puzzles. The story is a bit weak, with little character depth and not much of a plot. This definitely isn’t going to win any awards in this department but it does have some funny situations that arise throughout the plot. Cutscenes play at the end of every level and progress the story, but I mostly found myself looking forward to the next humorous scene rather than the plot advancement.
The game takes inspiration from classic Prince of Persia and Limbo. When you are platforming and solving puzzles, you are able to rewind time if you make a mistake or lose balance and tip over (which happens…A LOT). The puzzles are also solved mostly by grabbing objects and dragging them to specific spots in order to platform and continue on your journey. The star (and possibly fall) of the gameplay is our hero, Sumoman. Throughout the entire game your Sumoman is unstable and can’t get up if he falls over. This is actually quite funny at first seeing Sumoman horribly fail an easy jump, flipping and flailing his way to the ground while landing face first. The physics system is showcased best in moments like these and can be very entertaining. The problem occurs when the simplest task becomes a nuisance to the player, simply because of the physics. I tried numerous times on one of the early levels to walk across a bridge, only to get stuck in the middle simply because there was a small ledge connecting the bridge and another plank. This is something that the Sumoman should be able to just step over, but instead decides to constantly trip over and over again, accomplishing nothing but avid frustration.
When you think of a platformer you immediately expect a lot of jumping to be present. This is the case with Sumoman, which happens to be the most difficult part of the game. In order for Sumoman to be able to jump over anything, he needs to have a running start. This causes issues at later times in the game when you have very little space to maneuver, making something as simple as jumping seem like an impossible task to nail without restarting. Now, that being said, I understand that part of the challenge of this game is actually controlling the character and trying to balance him throughout his journey. I just think that there were more than a few instances where I became frustrated due to something that should have been so simple. Not being able to jump/walk over small objects that are right in front of you and instead cause you to flail around and tip over for no reason wasn’t the highlight of my playthrough.
These complaints did fill a portion of the game but not its entirety. The puzzles were fun to figure out and the platforming was hilarious at times. The game also has many easter eggs throughout and plenty of nods to other titles before it. Also, there’s a two player local competitive mode where you can race your friend to see who can finish the puzzle first. Along with a King of the Hill Mode as well.
If you want to see gameplay, check out our GTI Episode down below.
The game looks good; giving a nice color template throughout the journey and everything seemed well detailed. I did experience some graphical glitches during my time with the game but nothing that broke the experience. Character models looked great during gameplay but do seem to get a bit muddy during some cutscenes.
Once the campaign is finished you can go back and try to beat your best times while collecting all the sushi in every level. The multiplayer I mentioned earlier is also an option, but unfortunately it is local only so don’t expect to play online with a buddy.
WHAT IT COULD HAVE DONE BETTER
The physics were the highlight and downfall to this experience. It added lots of humor to the game but it needs to be tweaked so there isn’t so many frustrating moments that could have been easily avoided. Not every level had these glitches but there were more than a few. Also, online connectivity for multiplayer would be nice. (This is 2017)
Overall, Sumoman is a flawed but entertaining experience. Its light-hearted humor and easy to learn controls make it a good pick-up-and-play platformer. Enjoy the laughs but be ready to wear out your restart button.