Poi (PC) – Preview

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3D Platformers are a genre of games that are coming back in 2017. We have the plumber himself embarking on a world-tour through Nintendo’s Switch, Sonic rolling around with his Classic self, and the new duo of Yooka and Laylee evoking rare memories. But there are more 3D platformers on the horizon and one such platformer is the game called Poi.

Originating as a Kickstarter that was later turned into a Early Access Steam title, the developers have been hard at work finishing the game since 2015. The game is finally seeing a full release February 2nd and we are currently working on a review for the title releasing that same day.
I wanted to talk about the game though, as I spent over two hours as of this writing jumping around the open world of Poi. So I hope you enjoy this preview!

The Gameplay

Poi is interesting, as it’s a 3D platformer with roots firmly within the Nintendo 64 era of gaming. Your main character (either male or female) explores the world with moves like the rolling jump, triple jump, double jump, dive and more. Being so nimble allows for level design to be a playground for the player, and it feels wonderful.

I played in two worlds so far, one being the Forest area while another being fiery mountain. Each one offered fun gimmicks and little touches that made exploring a joy; flowers to jump across, objects to climb over and platform placement feeling very natural. It feels like expert level design in many cases, which is impressive; honoring the games it was inspired by.

Controls are very important in a 3D platformer, and thankfully Poi has good controls. Using a mouse and keyboard, the game feels great and the camera being mapped to the mouse works surprisingly well. It has full support for Xbox 360 controllers, so if you have one you can play this with standard controls.

The main objective for the title is to get every Adventure Metal, which can be found through exploring or completing a mission in a given level. It’s one-to-one mirroring Mario 64 in structure but it works out nicely due to some modernizing and unique mechanics. Your character can collect many metals at once depending on the mission, as if you complete say the 100 coin challenge, you can grab the metal linked to that mission and continue onwards. In addition, you have metals to complete outside of the base worlds; you have a little hub world set in the great sky.

You can fly to different landmasses and take on challenge courses which reward you with a metal once you complete them. There are also ‘Adventure Challenges’ to complete, with each one offering you a metal. These are achievement like goals, so you feel motivated to do and see everything to complete all of them.

The game also has usage for coins, as you do not have a life system; when you die, the option to press restart is present. So coins are used instead for tangible currency. In specific missions you can spend 100 of them for a Adventure Metal but you also use them for buying Adventure Tools (like a shovel to dig up specific spots or a compass to have a radar toward goals/important objects) and Challenge Missions. I really liked this system, as it encouraged me to fine every last coin in a level to get that special challenge mission or buy that extra hit point for my character.

Gameplay and design present is very tight honestly. Taking the best elements from games like Mario 64 and making great additions to it’s formula while also adopting more modern features helps Poi become a great experience. It isn’t just a game honoring the 3D platformer, it’s an example of one of the great 3D platformers. At least, from what I played thus far has made me feel this way.

The Presentation

Poi is a game that looks great, as through using a strong stylized visual choice, it looks great no matter what configuration you have it set to. Colors are bright and vivid, with NPC’s looking varied across the locations you travel too. Little touches stood out to me as well, like rain falling during a specific mission or usage of light when entering/exiting locations. It has a great style and feels unique to itself. In many respects, it honors the ‘Nintendo Look’; looking simple but having a high level of charm making you feel invested in the game world.

Musically the game is very strong, having melodies and great orchestration across the board. Sound effects are also nice, with the footsteps of your character and splashing of water being present from my time with the game.

Regarding how it runs, it depends on your set up. I’m playing the game using a Low and Medium settings and it runs at a stable 30FPS. I would imaging if you have a higher-end computer or even a more modern computer, you can set it to Medium and High to get sharper visuals & resolutions. Poi offers a lot of options for any computer set-up, so it works with most if not all computers.

I am greatly enjoying my time with Poi and feel it has the makings of one of the better 3D platformers on the market. My review will be releasing on the games launch date of February 2nd, so stay tuned for my final thoughts on the game once that goes live!

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