Think you’ve got what it takes? Do you have the Twerk- er, hang on, Quirk Factor?
And with the appearance of two brave young heroes, we’ve reached at my third and final post on Pu-Li-Ru-La. I clearly can’t get enough of this game’s unique offerings. For such a short-lived experience – even by beat ’em up standards a 20 minute playthrough is brief – three posts is really milking it. Well, with any luck this will prove to be my definitive statement on Pu-Li-Ru-La, and therefore my last. Set phasers to weird…
Before turning to gameplay, a word on the main character (the young man on the right above – the girl, who I assume is his sister, is playable with the second controller). Leaving aside for one moment the rather fetching plaster on his nose (Nelly, eat your heart out), he looks to me like the perfect blend of Ness from Earthbound and the original Pokemon Trainer from Pokemon Red.
So, the tale goes that PokeNess and his sister are the only ones who can stop some weirdo villain disguised as a children’s entertainer who wants to stop time, for some nefarious ends presumably.
Needless to say, this game is undeniably pleasing to the eye. It looks remarkably like an 80s cartoon, and it came close – Pu-Li-Ru-La was originally released in arcades in 1991.
Control is ludicrously straightforward. Jump and attack are your only options, and there are only two types of attack: normal swipe with your staff by hitting attack, and a slightly further reaching attack by hitting attack and down at the same time. It’s basically a button basher. There’s a bit of timing to it, but with no means of guarding and anything other than your trademark move, the Rod Bash. Not the greatest strategic potential then, even by beat ’em up standards. (How many times am I going to keep saying that? Even by beat ’em up standards, plenty.)
What’s more with the exception of bosses and one or two special enemies, every enemy takes one hit and one hit only to die. And don’t worry, they don’t die. This is a kids game! (It’s really not.) Rather than die, they turn into cute animals, platypuses, dogs, that sort of thing. It’s all rather cutesy. Or at least it seems that way at first…
There’s also magic. Bizarre magic, which comes in a variety of forms. And it’s random – you never know you’re getting until you try it. None of the spells are useless, but some are better than others. (Even then, you gain temporary invincibility which is always useful.) The best, which I didn’t get in this playthrough, is a man who puts an enemy in a giant microwave(!) which instantly transforms it into a soft puppy or piglet or whatever happens when the bad creatures die.
And that’s as far as I can go with this description of the game. Past the ice stage, all language fails. The images will speak for themselves from here on in. Just so long as you know that it’s not the controls, the magic, the moveset, the difficulty et cetera, that have traumatised me into silence.
There are no words for the havoc that this game wreaks on your soul. Pu-Li-Ru-La, the judges are in agreement: you’re not a good game, but you’ve got the Quirk Factor, and then some. Over to you, Nelly.