Pikuniku: Cutesy Dystopian Nightmare of an Indie Gem

Pikuniku the game
Pika, Pika?

Here’s a cutesy puzzle exploration game! It looks like French-London indie developer Sectordub created it for the kids of the world… except it’s really all about a hellish dystopian nightmare!

Pikuniku

Cute, eh? Look at the happy looking so-and-sos prancing about in that trailer. What a wonderful world they must live in.

No! Pikuniku paints a merry picture, but as you progress through what’s an amusing indie game… you realise things are a bit off.

Sure enough, what transpires is the most upbeat take on a dystopian hell we think we’ve ever come across.

You control Piku—the red dude. Generally you must solve puzzles to progress, which you complete by kicking objects with your gangly legs.

But you can also lasso your legs to fly about (kind of like how Earthworm Jim did with his body), plus push things around, bounce off objects, and jump super high.

Interaction with NPCs (non-player characters) is also a big thing. You can have a short chat with many of them. Most of them are friendly.

After Piku (who lives in a cave) accidentally demolishes a local village’s bridge, he helps to repair it. The villagers are chuffed with him and ask for his help with Mr. Sunshine.

That guy is hell-bent on harvesting the world’s resources for personal gain (i.e. wealth). Gee, isn’t it nice we don’t live in a world like that!?

Although it’s breezy and cheerful, with lots of colourful artistic flourishes, there’s a rather disturbing message underneath the bouncy exterior.

But the exposition and dystopian nightmare isn’t slapped on too heavily. It’s all rather subtle—Mr. Sunshine is a greedy bastard, sure, but look at how cute and pink he is!

Anyway, there’s a video game here! Away from the plot and themes we have a fun gameplay experience. It relies a lot on its sense of fun and silly humour.

It’s an accessible title, on the whole, and one we enjoyed. Even if it is rather short.

We don’t think it quite deserves some of its press-driven rave reviews. But as a cheap and amusing little adventure it’s worthy of your indie game collection.

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