Circus Pocus Review

Introduction

Circus Pocus is an adventure game developed by HugePixel and published by Chilidog Interactive for consoles, where as it’s self published on Steam. It was released in December 2021.

*A code was provided for the purpose of this review. This in no way influences the review, as my thoughts are mine and mine alone.

Review

One day, you and your brother decide to take a walk in the woods! You just so happen to be near the site of an old abandoned amusement park. Except it’s not abandoned. There is a group of psychotic killer clowns still living there and they want you! What do they plan on doing? Who knows. Kill you? Eat you? Perform some sort of ritual to turn you into a messed up creature that stalks the grounds for any curious adventurers. 

There’s not much story to the game. In fact the only bits of story dialogue you get are during the opening cutscene, then the tiny bit that happens at the end. So there’s nothing here to keep you motivated story wise, except for the will to save your own brother.

I got really excited about this game. The trailer made it look like it would be like Zelda, except set in an amusement park. But what we got was…so much less. Not to say it wasn’t enjoyable, but it wasn’t what I expected. The whole game ends up being more like a puzzle game, as opposed to an action adventure game. Your sole objective in each tiny area is to get to the exit. That involves finding statues, avoiding clowns, or riding a ball that has a mind of its own, and willingly wants to roll into the spike traps!

Sure on your adventures you learn how to whistle to avoid clowns, or lure them into deadly traps, which honestly was pretty fun, you also get to beat them with sticks. Not often, but when you could, I enjoyed it. My favourite traps were when you’d put a box on a certain spot and then specific traps would blow up, either clearing the way for you, or killing clowns. I don’t like clowns, so I enjoyed all the ways I could get back at them. I will say, I do wish the game had taken more of a traditional Zelda route. It has the plans for the formula. Puzzles, traps, great sword play when you actually get to swing a stick, fun level design, and some wacky boss fights. But the boss fights ended up just being lame at the end of the day. Great ideas, just poor execution. Where all you do is wait for the enemy to move over a trap, activate it, avoid the attacks, and rinse and repeat. The adventure at least didn’t overstay its welcome! As it only took about 45 minutes to beat the game. That gave me enough time to happily hunt down clowns on their own turf!

I do wish there was a level select, only because of the way the game is structured. Is there any real point to having a level select in such a short game? Probably not, but for the trophy/achievement hunters out there, it would help them, especially if they missed one of the collectibles in the game!

Rating

Rating: 6 out of 10.

Pros:

  • Fun Level Design
  • Traps Were Fun To Lure Clowns To

Cons:

  • No Real Story
  • More Puzzle Game Than Action Game

Summary

If you were to watch a trailer for this game, I feel like you’d expect a very different game than the one you get. At least that’s what happened to me. But I still enjoyed the quick adventure through the lands of the amusement park, and it made me really want the developer to try their hand at a proper Zelda style game, as the formula is all there! I hope one day we can see it. For what the game is, it’s fun, but if you’re a trophy/achievement hunter, just know that the game is pretty quick!

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Game & Developer Information

Developer Website: HugePixel
Developer Socials: Twitter
Publisher Website: ChiliDog Interactive
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £3.99/€4.99 Europe / $4.99 North America
Trophy Information: 21. 40-platinum 1 / Gold 9 / Silver 3 / Bronze 8

Images – https://twitter.com/chilidogint

Circus Pocus — PlayStation 4. Trailer

Published by oniwalker

Co-owner of NodeGamers(dot)com. Reviewer and Guide Writer. I'll play just about anything as I cry about my backlog!

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