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Video Game / Pikuniku

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Not your average platform game.
Developed by British-French indie group Sectordub, published by Devolver Digital, and first released on January 21, 2019 for PC and Nintendo Switch, Pikuniku is a puzzle platformer game in a world where all is not as it seems.

Meet the seemingly happy Mr. Sunshine. He wants to give you all the money in the world in exchange for all of the world's junk. Unfortunately, the "junk" of the world consists of the trees, water, food, and everything else needed for survival.

Enter Piku, a strange ball with legs. While at first he gets accused by villagers of being a monstrous beast, he eventually helps them to restore the world back to its former glory. Along the way he'll meet characters of very diverse characteristics who just want him to stop and help.

Pikuniku is a puzzle platformer where you control Piku who walks strangely and can extend his legs to grab onto hooks and can also roll into a ball to squeeze into tight corridors and move faster. The game is an open-world platformer that is meant to be played at a leisurely pace and with a graphical style resembling paper cutouts.

This video game provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Mine: Or possibly Abandoned Town. Strangely, its residents are shaped like Mr. Sunshine. The worm that assists you suggests that these are people rather than robots.
  • Aborted Arc: After the first task, the fact that you are accused as "The Beast" is more or less completely forgotten about.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The second robot you fight requires you to cross the entire valley without getting caught while it chases you.
  • all lowercase letters: Most of the dialogue consists of this.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: There are hidden temples that aren't plot-important, just Nintendo Hard extra areas. The result from most of these is... a hat with no practical use.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: One of the villagers treats the volcano's massive explosion as a spectacle, and only decides it was bad because a piece of magma fell down and burned the last page of the book he was reading.
  • Back Tracking: You have to return to the first Village to destroy the robot taking away the corn. Thankfully you get a mode of fast travel later on.
  • Big Bad: Mr. Sunshine is the main cause of everything going wrong in the game's world.
  • Big Red Button: The volcano has a big red button that stops the eruption when pressed. The villagers press it admitting that it was not so wise to install an abort button right next to the button to make the volcano erupt.
  • Black Dot Pupils: Most everyone except the worms, and that's only because they're white pupils on black. Surprise, excitement, or stunned expressions merely add a white ring to show the eyes wide open.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: Mr. Sunshine wants to make the island volcano erupt to destroy the island with its lava to build a perfect city.
  • Dance-Off: A particular robot suffers a feedback loop and explodes if you beat it in a dance-off. You have to do this to prove to a group of rebels that you're against Mr. Sunshine.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of the characters at one point or another. Piku's dialogue options usually include a snarky one as well.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Mr. Sunshine's greed and destruction of the environment are clear parallels to capitalism, and the way that he lies and spreads propaganda to further his control of the world is very comparable to dystopian settings.
  • Door to Before: The more difficult platforming and puzzle sections usually give you a shortcut back to the beginning. In some places the "door" is a frog that teleports you.
  • El Spanish "-o": One of the rebels calls the secret bunker "El Bunko."
  • Faux Affably Evil: Mr. Sunshine presents an affable front, offering money for "junk" and offering a tour at some point. Late in the game, however, the villagers slowly start catching on as to how he's destroying them, at which point Sunshine doesn't even try to hide his insanity anymore.
  • Genre Blindness: Exaggerated and played for laughs with the villagers in the first town, who blow right by all the obvious clues that Mr. Sunshine is the bad guy and come up with all sorts of enthusiastic excuses to cheer him on while he takes their stuff.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The closest thing to a final boss is a sequence where you chase Mr. Sunshine across a river of lava in a speedboat while he throws corn (which turns into popcorn upon hitting the lava) at you.
  • Great Escape: Late in the game, Mr. Sunshine arrests Piku and puts him in jail for breaking his robots and interfering with his plans. It is within jail that Piku learns of said plan and needs to escape to stop it.
  • Greenwashed Villainy: Mr. Sunshine markets himself as a businessman who sends flying robots who pick up trash and even gives money to the residents of the town. He actually wants to destroy the island with his volcano to build a perfect city in his image.
  • Heel–Face Turn: The robots working for Mr. Sunshine take up more honest jobs repairing the village after he's defeated.
  • Insistent Terminology: One of the rebels is really attached to his nickname for the secret hideout, El Bunko. The others get annoyed whenever he calls it that.
  • Inventional Wisdom: The volcano on the island is designed to erupt at the press of a button. Right next to it is a button to cancel the eruption.
  • Megaton Punch: Or more accurately a Megaton Kick, which is how Piku sends Mr. Sunshine into orbit at the end of the game.
  • Minecart Madness: There are minecarts scattered throughout the Abandoned Mine.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Two robots working for Mr. Sunshine refuse to continue when they find out that one of them isn't being paid, while the other admits he's only paid enough to barely scrape by.
  • no punctuation is funnier: Most of the dialogue has no capitalization or punctuation.
  • Permanently Missable Content: There's no way to return to the volcano in the Playable Epilogue, which means trophies and the micro bug inside are missable.
  • Playable Epilogue: After completing the game, you can explore the world and talk to the townspeople and see what's changed. If you pause and look at the list of objectives, it simply says, "The end."
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The only reason the bot doesn't kill Piku in Mr. Sunshine's lair is because Mr. Sunshine revealed one of the larger bot operators isn't getting paid where his partner is. The two both think it's unfair and refuse to continue work until the one is getting paid. Rather than acquiesce and let it go, Mr. Sunshine tries to escape.
  • Sequel Hook: Mr. Sunshine promises to be back after he lands on a planet and turns it into Planet Sunshine.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Silly Walk: Piku's walk animation is quite silly, since his main body accelerates and stops rapidly, but his legs are left having to catch up. When he starts walking, his body leans forward and his legs stretch a fair distance before actually starting the walking animation with long strides; when he stops walking, his body stops suddenly and his legs have to course-correct, usually taking steps backwards so they remain beneath his body.
  • Surprise Creepy:
    • The abandoned mines are filled with dilapidated housing and black statues shaped like Mr. Sunshine. One would assume it was just his first attempt at an Egopolis, but those aren't statues; those are the corpses of his townsfolk after a magma flow killed them all.
    • Mr. Sunshine tries to create a new "perfect" race called the Sunshiners, which end up being a mix of his robots, valley residents, and forest residents. They're harmless, but don't look too good.
  • Tragic Villain: It's implied Mr. Sunshine's hometown town being wiped out in a volcanic eruption has driven him to try and recreate it at the cost of the entire rest of the island.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The volcano's short-lived explosion is large enough to shoot Piku and Mr. Sunshine into outer space, but most of the villagers barely consider it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can kick most NPCs, and some can't even object, but...
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Most of them can and will start kicking you around for a while if you keep at it, and because you weigh so little compared to them you're guaranteed to be juggled around like a hackey sack until they calm down.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Pikuniku's universe is weird, quirky, and adorably out-there. Mr. Sunshine's plan to wipe out the island in a volcanic explosion and create an Egopolis filled with mutants, however, wouldn't be out-of-place with a crazier Bond or JRPG villain.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Mr. Sunshine presents himself with a jovial and friendly facade and gives people free money, this way, the villagers are too busy spending their money while he exploits the world's resources.
  • Waddling Head: Piku is basically an oval with retractable legs and No Mouth.