Our Rating: 7/10
Ayo the Clown is a brand-new 2.5D whimsical indie game, introduced for PC and Nintendo Switch, and follows a clown on a journey to find his missing puppy.
The game’s tale is short and sweet. However, it gets bonus points for being portrayed in the form of lovely illustrations and a voiceover. Given the game’s tone, could be a little more joyful. It’s not exactly bad, but it’s not in keeping with the game’s tone, you know?
One step at a time
At no point does Ayo the Clown try to reinvent the wheel: it’s a 2.5D platform side progression game that follows the genre’s rules and focuses on simplicity. There are no theatrical phases like in Rayman, and Super Meat Boy’s difficulty is almost masochistic. What we have here is a game that stays to the fundamentals of the platform genre, the rice, and beans, without overstating the level of difficulty.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it makes the game convenient to those who haven’t yet had their hands toughened by years of playing games — and who, given the adorable look and the fact that the main character is a clown, should be part of the game’s intended audience.
The game’s “uniqueness” comes from the fact that it turns even the genre’s most traditional conventions into unlockable skills. We can’t even jump during the early stages of the game; we have to find our “special shoes” that enable us to do so. At various points in the game, we will encounter NPCs who will request us to assist them in return for a fresh ability.
The recipe is reiterated all across the game: after completing a few levels, we will receive a balloon that will enable us to float for a few seconds. Afterward, we aided a fairy and earned the right to climb (vines, railings, etc.) as well as the “butt” that could break certain floors. The clown improves his abilities as he performs good deeds. This works within the context of the game, but it’s a little weird when we consider the genre overall: characters like Mario, for instance, can do pretty much all Ayo discovers from the beginning.
Vehicles and collectibles
To add a little variety to the game, we’ll be allowed to deploy tanks and aircraft in certain parts of the adventure. We can also gather wooden swords, water balloons, and other “weapons,” which aren’t especially helpful because bouncing on opponents’ heads is a far more natural way to dispatch them.
The game is split into 30 levels, each with its own set of opponents and environments (beach, forest, farm, park). A boss battle awaits at the final moment of every level. Simply follow the old formula of assimilation of opponent attack patterns and waiting for an opportunity to strike.
Our friend Ayo picks up precious stones, similar to how Mario gathers coins and Sonic gathers rings. But that’s not all: there are also secret lollipops and teddy bears for each stage. Your score at the end of the level is affected by whether or not you found everything.
Ayo the Clown is a straightforward but vibrant, friendly, and well-made game. Although it may be for a select intended audience, we believe the youngsters will love it. Checkpoints, for instance, are mechanisms that smack the main character in the face with a pie. The final stage is set in a circus ring, and Ayo performs juggling and other circus acts. The game’s music, as well as the voiceover, lacked a spike. They’re not terrible, but they don’t always match the game, sounding a little drab in comparison to the game’s vibrant colors.
Ayo the Clown is a pleasant and competent platformer, but it fails to impress. It’s very “ordinary,” and the execution isn’t particularly original or memorable. That doesn’t make it an awful game, but it does contribute to it being “forgotten.”
Ayo is missing that key component: a catchier soundtrack, a distinct power-up type, and a highly specific skill. This is something that the player revisits. However, if the game only does the bare minimum, it becomes bland. Ayo the Clown is tough to recommend. The platform is a genre filled with classics, which suggests there are easily better ways to splurge your extra cash.