Ready to clown around?
Ayo the Clown is an indie game that you could easily miss scrolling through the Xbox Store, Nintendo eShop, or Steam. This colorful game with a kid-friendly facade looked interesting when I first heard about it. (I wrote about it in this news article in March.) Thankfully, it also has some depth too.
The game’s story is pretty simple as is the gameplay. Here is a little more background on the story from indie developer Cloud M1:
In Ayo’s hometown, things are generally peaceful. Accompanied by his talented circus dog Bo, Ayo juggles in the park, hangs out at the carnival and longs after the Shoemaker’s granddaughter. Then one fateful day, Bo mysteriously goes missing, turning Ayo’s world upside-down! Take the role of this loveable little clown as he searches for his best friend and beloved dog across the colorful yet perilous lands beyond their circus town.
In terms of gameplay, Ayo the Clown is basically a collect-a-thon in the mold of retro platformers. You go around collecting gems and optional items like Teddy bears. Its three-dimensional backgrounds and side-scrolling gameplay feels a lot like the offerings that you would find from the Nintendo Wii era when it was quite popular to revive classics in 2.5D.
Although the gameplay feels derivative, there are nice touches that give it some of its own unique personality. For instance, the main character (who is a clown) gets a hammer to bonk enemies on the head. You’ll also get a pie in the face more than once, which is good for a chuckle or two.
Its strongest suit is when it branches out a bit with vertical platforming and secret areas. However, the levels are fairly straightforward and accessible for players of all ages. The levels use a checkpoint system that will return Ayo to the checkpoint upon death; but once you run out of lives, you get kicked out of the level and back to the overworld map.
Ayo the Clown is something like a budget Super Mario Bros. Although it is not nearly as good of a platformer as Nintendo’s red-capped plumber, Ayo does manage to have its own unique personality. The characters are cute and somewhat charming, but the graphics and level design leave plenty of room for improvement. If you’re looking for a quick 2.5D platformer to plow through on PC or Xbox, you might consider it if it goes on sale. Switch players are better off with Nintendo’s offerings.
Game Freaks 365 received a review copy.