PokeyPoke hands on — Using your spear as more than just a weapon

Poke your spear deep into the ground, using your impressive upper body strength to hold yourself up, pivoting to the direction you need, before pulling it out of the ground and jumping forward.

PokeyPoke is a wonderfully challenging platformer where use your trusty spear to maneuver around the environment. At first, you don’t have this spear to help you around — so you must make do exploring with limited left, right and jump movements. Once you discover the spear, embedded into a button in the wall, you can explore so much more.

Pokeypoke GameplayYour spear can poke into walls, letting you climb walls with it; be used as a pogo stick, bouncing against hard rocks; or even be used as a trampoline, once the tip of the spear is stuck into the wall, bouncing on its stick end. This isn’t all your spear can do, of course — you can also throw it into buttons or use it to deflect bombs — but that is for later in the game.

PokeyPoke really forces you to rely on your spear — especially when it comes to climbing walls and attacking to the ceiling — forcing you to keep your spear poked into the roof of an area, pivoting the way you want to go. There are tons of spikes waiting for you to bounce into them, killing you instantly. Your goal is to find gems (there are eleven of them in the demo) each of which is hidden in an area that is challenging to get to.

Pokeypoke ActionYou will need to start mastering your movement, aware of subtle angles and quick jabs into the rocks around you. Some areas force you to bounce at the correct angle off hard rocks, hoping to make it to a gem, while others are a tricky combination of wall climbing, making jumps and moving attached to the ceiling.

Pokeypoke ClimbAt its current state, PokeyPoke has a very open design — if some area is too difficult too get to, you can just move onto another area without penalty. This concept was originally created for the GM48, however I was able to take on an updated version of the demo at the Norwich Gaming Festival 2018, where I could also experience other people failing at the movement with me. There is a bit of a learning curve to leaning on a spear for movement — and it is worth noting that while using the controller at the event, I found it much more challenging than a keyboard. The developer of the game expressed this concern too and is working on the balancing when it comes to making the game controller friendly.

If you’d like to follow the development of PokeyPoke, you can check out @shaunspalding on Twitter and if you’d like to support the game, check out Shaun’s Patreon.

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