The Perfect Pencil, the tried and true of a surreal and delicious platformer

The Perfect Pencil, the tried and true of a surreal and delicious platformer

The Perfect Pencil

When John finds himself headless on the dock of an unknown world, the only thing he can do is walk to the right, following a faint light. On his way he meets a strange character, who lives under a lighthouse, who makes him understand that he is not the first to find himself in that situation and implants a camera instead of his skull. Now John can better observe the world around him and examine some objects using his head, so to speak, framing them for directions, hints and collectibles. What is this place? Why did it get there? Who's the strange guy who helped him? What can he do to get back to reality?

To find out we tried the demo of The Perfect Pencil, an all-Italian metroidvania with a surreal style that really struck us.

Surreal style

The first area of ​​the demo After the introductory section, John enters the first area: a strange cave full of plants and bizarre characters. Here he acquires his main weapon: a giant pencil. There are no big explanations as to why the place is full of adults who behave like children and try to stop the protagonist, but the whole scenario conveys a strong feeling of resignation, as if they were people who have given up on growing up and not. they want nothing more than to remain closed in their own little world. So there are some slender men in cages crawling around the platforms, others wrapped in mattresses that roll against John when they see him and still others in pillows that crawl like caterpillars. John confronts them holding his giant pencil, with which he can launch simple, charged or healing slashes, the latter essential to recover lost energy. There are also more traditional enemies around the map, such as plants that explode by spreading toxic gases.

The visual style is the element that stands out the most and that in a certain sense makes the gameplay of The Perfect Pencil unique. The demo lasts about an hour and a half and allows you to visit the first area, up to the clash with the boss: a decidedly placed man who dresses like a baby, who feels little loved and who, like the rest of the people who populate the level, would just like to sleep. The fight is not very difficult, but it is nevertheless pleasant, due to the peculiarities of the enemy, who rolls against John and cries trying to hit him with his tears. After passing it there is a twist, which we will not talk about (download the demo, it is so free), so to continue you are sent back to the final version, which does not yet have a release date.

Game mechanics

The Perfect Pencil is full of surreal situations But let's take a step back. In terms of game mechanics The Perfect Pencil does not differ much from the average metroidvania, even if it has some peculiarities that make it in a certain sense unique. Meanwhile, the aforementioned use of the camera to examine objects, from which also some interactions with the possibility of multiple choice derive. Furthermore, with the management of the map and the inventory, with the first that is composed by finding and breaking certain objects, and with the second that contributes in a decisive way (at least in appearance) to the construction of the story, through the way in which it catalogs the objects found and allows you to interact with them. For the rest, expect to hop from platform to platform eliminating enemies, hunt for secrets (there are so many) and collect lots of items, retracing your steps if necessary.

The most striking side of Studio Cima's title is certainly the narrative one, composed not only of the texts, but also of some visual elements, which alone holds up the whole experience, motivating the player to move forward until the end.

Some environments are really beautiful Although the demo ends without giving great explanations on what we are experiencing (as it naturally is), the story involves and makes you want to answer all the questions that haunt the poor John. Between dialogues and surreal situations, The Perfect Pencil seems to be built excellently from this point of view. That said, frankly we would like to avoid any interpretation based only on the demo. A certain underlying theme is actually intuitive, but we would not want it to be just a deception and that the final version hides something else. However, it is clear that the representation has a strong metaphorical value and that the whole game draws part of its strength from this.


The inventory has several functions The only system that the demo's nose made us turn up a bit is the positioning of the checkpoints, which are far too far from each other. The result is that the few times we died, we had to redo long pieces of the level. Nothing dramatic, but we suffered a little from repetition. Of course, in this way we could also try to take different branches, thus discovering the areas better, but the fact remains that having to face the same enemies several times in a row is not exactly the best.

Having said that, if the final version manages to enchant us as the demo did, The Perfect Pencil will certainly deserve a more than positive judgment. All that remains is to wait to know when we can continue John's adventure.

The Perfect Pencil is the metroidvania that you do not expect, that comes to surprise you just when you think that the genre has said a little bit of everything. had to say. The title of Studio Cima does not seem to be particularly original or revolutionary, but from what we have been able to try it could be a more intense experience than that offered by many competitors, thanks to a well-kept style and a narrative side that seems to be particularly inspired. br>


Narrative side The exploration is satisfying The visual style is very beautiful DOUBTS The checkpoints Have you noticed any errors?

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