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Promenade Review

Promenade Review
Image: Holy Cap

Promenade is a game all about a young boy called Nemo and his poulp friend, which is an octopus to you and me. If that doesn’t grab your attention, then look at the wonderful screenshots adorning this page – they certainly should. If it isn’t clear, Promenade is a good old-fashioned 2D platforming game. The twist is, it’s inspired by collectathons such as Banjo-Kazooie and Super Mario Odyssey, which are typically 3D.

Venturing out into a colourful world, something terrible happens to young Nemo – a dark energy escapes out of him, creating a sort of evil alter-ego. In order to entrap Nemo and keep his world small, this alter-ego destroys the cogs that power a great elevator. And so your task is clear: find the cogs, repair the elevator, and overcome your adversary.

Rather than presenting players with set levels, Promenade instead has a world that’s rather open. Initially only a few areas are available, but as players collect cog parts and get the elevator running, more areas are opened up. Players are free to explore, then, and while there are platforming challenges to be completed, success in Promenade also requires you to put your thinking cap on.

Promenade Review
Image: Holy Cap

Problem solving is the order of the day here, with you frequently encountering conundrums on your travels. Most of them need to be solved with the help of your poulp, who can be handily thrown a short distance to grab objects. You can throw the objects you’ve picked up, or use it to give you a boost when in the air – effectively a double jump.

Related: The Best Platformer Games on PS5

One minute you might be picking up enemies or an actual basketball and throwing them in nets to score goals, for example. After that, you might be protecting a snail from cannonball fire, enabling it to meet its saucy date and demolish a lovely plate of spaghetti. But as well as these types of impromptu and outlandish challenges, you’ll also encounter rooms that offer more traditional platforming experiences, time trials that test your mastery of certain abilities, and more.

Needless to say, Promenade is a game that keep you on your toes. While you do find some activities repeated in areas, there’s always a whole lot of new stuff to overcome too. And it can be devious: it’s generally easy enough to get the required number of cog parts to progress, but ticking off all the challenges in an area can be tough.

Promenade Review
Image: Holy Cap

There are some more bothersome issues, though. Upon returning to an area, for example, all elements are reset. That means cog pieces you’ve already acquired will appear again, only slightly changed into balloons. It can make you question whether you’ve got a cog piece or not before. This issue is particularly troublesome when exploring areas where falling off the screen results in you landing in an area below, rather than simply being put back to a checkpoint.

Returning to areas is necessary, too, as sometimes cogs can’t be obtained the first time around. You pick up a new ability early on into the game, for example, that allows you to catapult yourself from hooks. This can then be used in access a rocket in a beginning seaside area to fly off into space, allowing you to collect even more cogs.

Even with its areas not entirely remembering what you’ve done on a previous visit, however, Promenade is still a joy to play. It looks gorgeous, has a neat soundtrack, and is full of variety. What other game can you think of where you can go from finding chickens to playing a sneaky game of space invaders within minutes? If you love platformers, especially those that require you to collect things, consider Promenade a must-play.


Promenade Review – GameSpew’s Score

This review of Promenade is based on the PS5 version, with a code provided by the game’s publisher. It’s available on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Switch and PC.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!