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Cuyo (PC) artwork

Cuyo (PC) review


"Press Space to Jump/Win"


Cuyo has a couple of interesting takes. It shares a lot of basic mechanics with precision platforming games, such as an instant respawn mechanic that lets you delve right back into a stage once you die, and short levels that can be seen off in seconds during a successful run. Only, Cuyo is not a super challenging precision platforming game; it is, in fact, particularly easy. For games like Super Meat Boy, these design choices make a lot of sense. The game is specifically designed to cause you an inhuman amount of deaths, so seeks to lower player frustration and bolster an addictive Ďone last tryí mindset. Instant respawns are vital, because there needs to be precious little, ahem, dead time between your unfathomably high number of demises and rebirths. Short levels are equally important, because itís easier to accept losing seconds of progress instantly and continuously than it is to lose minutes of it.

You wonít eat a lot of deaths in Cuyo. You wonít have to take on levels over and over to slowly learn how to navigate their devious death traps or figure out to bypass sadistic corridors of whirling buzzsaws and bottomless pits. Similar things do exist, and theyíll certainly get the better of you from time to time, but their implementation is much more relaxed. Cuyo isnít interested in adrenaline highs and frustration lows; it wants to be a much more chill affair. Resplendent as it is in unperturbed pastel hues and non-offensive tranquil tunes, it lacks the bite for such mechanics to make a lot of sense. So Cuyo makes a play for atypical and limits the amount of jumps youíre allowed.



But only if thatís okay with you! It should be noted that, from the start, youíre offered the chance to turn any pesky limitations off, even if that robs an already easy game of what little teeth it has. Because once you get used to the idea of conserving jumps, youíll only fail stages by running out of them if you mess up pretty spectacularly. Your jump reservoir is generous, and if you make a beeline right for the finishing line, youíll often have little excuse not to make it with numerous jumps left in the bank. But heading right to the finish would mean missing out of the glowy blue orb collectable dotted around each stage. As levels progress and become more complex, the orb finds itself in more inconvenient places, forcing you to strategize and plan your jumps accordingly. Then, Cuyo further complicates by slowly dropping special abilities into the mix, such as a double jump or a wall jump.

It purposefully stops short of being a reflex-heavy game and, instead, youíre mainly punished for charging in recklessly without a plan. Although, punished probably isnít the right word, because the hefty jump reserves will still allow for a couple of mistakes to take place each level. Which makes it a little bit weird to talk about; it bases itself on the foundations of precision platformers whose player base will have absolutely zero interest in playing such a laid-back, challenge-light offering. Cuyo wants to be the antithesis of that, for better or worse. A lot of the early levels are so easy, they feel impossible to fail; youíre just going through the motions until you stroll across the finishing line. This will change as the level complexity ramps up, but itís important to know what Cuyo is before you go in. Itís a simple, unperturbed plodder of a platformer, that leans into puzzle territory and, if youíre after something a little bit different, itís good for a few hours of calculated jumping. Thereís plenty of suicide platformers out there, if thatís your speed, but there are not many more Cuyos.

3/5

EmP's avatar
Staff review by Gary Hartley (February 06, 2021)

Gary Hartley arbitrarily arrives, leaves a review for a game no one has heard of, then retreats to his 17th century castle in rural England to feed whatever lives in the moat and complain about you.

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