If you enjoy cute and fun games as much as I do then I have a very special platformer for you; introducing the delightful Ayo the Clown.
Ayo the Clown stars a fellow who loses his dog. That makes me sad. However, Ayo quickly jumps into action and goes on an epic quest to rescue his furry friend and this is certainly enough of a driving force throughout the entire campaign. Along his journey, Ayo will meet many friends and NPCs who he helps; sometimes, begrudgingly because he is on a mission, after all. Anyway, this makes for one endearing adventure that's full of laughs, heartfelt moments, and silly shenanigans. It helps that the graphics are as sharp, colourful, and detailed as they are. I love seeing Ayo's starred red cape flap as he runs, jumps, and climbs and even the little details like having pandas ride hot-air balloons in the background made me smile from start to finish. Ayo also does a cute performance whenever you beat a stage.
As you would expect from a 2D platformer, Ayo the Clown has you run and jump around stages and most of them are quite intricate and multi-layered with loads of secrets and collectibles waiting to be found. Although you begin the campaign without even the ability to jump, Ayo will collect trophies from time to time that grant him abilities such as the super-useful balloon which lets him float for a short while after jumping and you'll also collect temporary weapons such as swords, water balloons, and rubber mallets that help with defeating enemies. In addition to all of this, there are oodles of fun scenarios that mix up the gameplay such as being chased by a bear, floating up a level with a balloon, driving a tank, fighting bosses, and solving light puzzles. The stage designs themselves are brilliant, too.
Instead of merely trying to run from left to right in order to reach each level's goal, Ayo the Clown encourages you to explore because you never know what you'll find tucked away in its nooks and crannies. From collectible teddy bears and lollipops to treasure chests full of gems; there's a lot to discover. That being said, gems double as currency which you can spend at shops but there aren't that many upgrades and they're quite expensive so I wish that you could use gems more frequently to add to the sense of progression.
Although Ayo the Clown looks like a simple and easy game, it actually becomes quite challenging and in the best old-school sense of the word. For starters, you have limited lives and when you run out, you have to begin the stage all over again. Because of this, it brought me back to the good old days of gaming when you had to really put effort in if you want to make progress. With that in mind, some moments can be kind of annoying; particularly when you're surprised by an enemy attack or a platform falls from under your feet.
Finally, although I love Ayo the Clown's world and enjoyed its silly narrated cutscenes, it's kind of odd how disjointed its art style is. The in-game graphics are super-cute and colourful yet some of the cutscene artwork can actually be kind of on the gross side. Plus, the artwork for the main menu looks different, too, so it's like the devs had multiple artists contribute and ended up using all of it.
Ayo the Clown is exactly what a 2D platformer should be; silly, fun, challenging, varied, and intuitive. So, if you enjoy the genre then adding this indie gem to your collection is a must. Plus, it's sure to make you smile and that's always a good thing.
- + Tight 2D platforming that's full of variety and rewarding exploration
- + Super-cute and detailed world
- + Impressive amount of challenge
- - Unexpected moments can be annoying
- - Upgrades are too few and far between
- - Art style is rather disjointed