itch-Lit with Rohil: Pikuniku
itch-Lit🔥 is a play journal by Rohil, exploring the ever-expanding collection of brilliantly bizarre indie darlings on itch.io — published exclusively on All Ages of Geek!
Pikuniku is an adorable, oddly-dark, physics-based puzzle-exploration adventure from Devolver Digital. If you’re familiar with Devolver Digital’s publishing output, you’re aware of their subversive, visually distinct games — unafraid to venture into some unconventional mechanical and narrative territory (titles like Genital Jousting, Heavy Bullets, and Minit).
In Pikuniku, you’ll kick-it in a colorful, children’s book aesthetic, dystopic village. Talk to the inhabitants and complete various quests and activities with them. There is a Fez-like quality to this project; everything is pleasant to be around and breathable. The environments are alive and fully realized, with memorable landmarks. I quickly felt immersed in the world, invested in the creatures around me, and their interests — even if they referred to me as a monster at first. Very relatable tbh. My favorite element of the game is a well-executed, underlying foreboding sense of surveillance both with the security cameras and with being the only outsider in the village.
The play is dynamic but can be a little tricky to pick-up. I’d describe it as elevated rag-doll physics — it’s fun crashing around the environment. The game isn’t hand-holdy in the slightest. You’re told what to do, but never how to do it — and that’s always been a more enjoyable play experience for me. The play is in service of the player’s imagination.
An early objective in the game is to repair a bridge — with little or no immediate text direction. There is a spider chillin’ close to the bridge, spinning its web. So, you think… “Maybe I’ll fortify the bridge with video game webbing?” Moments like this are present throughout, encouraging you to try new things, talk to characters, and go where you want at your own pace. There is harmony between the play and world-building. On your journey, you’ll collect different hats and accessories that provide new play elements, keeping things fresh.
This is a lovely game. As for my rating…
I give it three 🔥🔥🔥 and two ✏️✏️ and an extended 10-15 minutes of 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾