IMPRESSIONS: Ayo the Clown

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

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Ayo the Clown | Title Image

We here at Operation Rainfall have received a preview build for a new action platformer set to hit Kickstarter in the next month or two. Ayo the Clown is the presumptive next title from the developer Cloud M1. The studio has previously created CG movies for various developers and then they went to producing a few games and apps on iOS. But immediately when booting up the game, even at this early stage, you can see this studio’s CG background. The character models are extremely well designed and animated, as you can tell from their Official Website. So far there is no information on pricing and potential consoles that it may come to.

Ayo the Clown | Boxing Gloves

Someone with large punching gloves is not that fond of clowns either.

The preview build only had one level, but the level was quite large and also included a boss at the end. It was not enough to get a good handle on what the story was going to be and why your clown was in that particular level. But all the enemies and backgrounds had a very toy-like feel to them. So the chances are high that this is actually a toy clown instead of a human. Then one has to ask the existential question of whether any clown is actually a human. But that’s beyond the scope of this review… yes, I hate clowns. That being said, though, there was charm just dripping off of this game. The designs are really colorful and animate beautifully while conveying a simple aesthetic.

Ayo the Clown | Giant Frog

Either Ayo is very small, or the Olympic Commission needs to investigate this frog for steroids.

During the course of the stage you also meet up with little creatures that will either give you some helpful tips or whom you can do little mini missions for. At one point I found the shell for a turtle which gave me a new ground pound move. But then I found the turtle and he jumped on Ayo’s back and rode around until we found his missing brother. The enemies also seem to have quite a bit of personality, especially the boss who had a very Mario phrase that he stated when Ayo confronted him. The music also brings in some of the Mario style, only with an obviously more circus flair to it.

Ayo the Clown | Colorful Spikes

Go ahead and fall on those spikes, I still don’t forgive you for Poltergeist.

The only moves you have so far are a small range floating jump using a balloon, and a ground pound that uses his head instead of his butt. But you do reach a point in the stage where the game will tell you that there will be a slide mechanic in the full game. So this is mostly a bog standard action platformer, just with a much more colorful aesthetic. However, the last 1/3 of the stage brings in a fascinating new element, a tank. Unlike the tanks in games like Metal Slug this one is actually very versatile. You can jump almost as high in your tank via rockets underneath its tracks, and plus you can run over enemies and shoot out a projectile. You can change the direction alignment of your tank cannon using the shoulder buttons on the controller, but you typically don’t have to use that until you fight the final boss of the demo, which is a much larger and more deadly tank.

Ayo the Clown | Aquatic Section

The clown jokes are coming too easy, let’s just look at the pretty background.

The demo stage is actually very large, so I do not expect the final stages to be quite that size. One nice thing though, is that there is really no major consequence for death, and that makes the stage much more manageable. Checkpoints are very frequently spaced throughout and there is no limited number of lives. There is a timer that counts up with how long you are taking, but we’ll have to wait for more information as to what rewards or consequences are involved. This first stage was really quite difficult, though, so they may need some balance. Part of that is also how inaccurate the controls are, they aren’t horrible but they can use some tightening if they want this to be a challenging but not frustrating experience. Overall, though, there is a lot of charm and wonderful design here. So this is a title I will be keeping an eye on when it hits Kickstarter. It’s actually surprising how much they already have put into this game even before trying for their funding goals. When a developer can afford to do this, I highly recommend this process going forward to let people know that you have a real game there. Check out the trailer and see if you are also interested in this future indie title.

About William Haderlie

Born in the 1970's, I've been an avid participant for much of video game history. A lifetime of being the sort of supergeek entrenched in the sciences and mathematics has not curbed my appreciation for the artistry of video games, cinema, and especially literature.