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Video Game / Puppeteer (2013)

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Not many people can perform a Yorrick soliloquy with their own head, but Kutaro is one of them.

"Welcome to the magical theatre, of the strange and fantastic..."
Professor Gregorious T. Oswald

Puppeteer is a side-scrolling platformer for the PlayStation 3. Puppeteer takes place in a magical puppet theatre, owned and run by the slightly eccentric but thoroughly charming Professor Gregorious T. Oswald. His latest production is the weirdly titled “The Perilous Journey of a Boy Named Kutaro.”

On one dark, moonlit night, the star of the show, a young boy named Kutaro, is carried away by the maleficent Moon Bear King to a black castle, where the unlucky lad is transformed into a puppet. Kutaro then displeases the terrible tyrant, who duly devours the boy’s wooden head and casts away his body. But the headless hero is not alone, for he discovers a very special pair of magic scissors, which will help him on his harrowing quest to find his head -— and his way home.

Unlike most games where you move through the world, the world of Puppeteer actually moves around you, with all the action taking place on the same stage. The sets are continually moving and changing, taking you on an adventure with surprises in every scene.


Puppeteer contains the following tropes:

  • Animated Actors: The game is a play and every character is a cast member acting a part.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: After swallowing the souls of every child on Earth, Moon Bear King becomes a giant larger than his own castle.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Bugging the Witch during tutorial segments will make her turn the current companion into a creature or object related to the current events, such as turning Ying Yang into a carrot, or Pikarina into a parrot. The Witch herself is actually the Moon Goddess turned into an ugly form by the breaking of the White Moon Crystal.
  • Big Bad: The Moon Bear King overthrew the Moon Goddess and now rules over the moon with an iron fist.
  • Big Eater: Pikirina shows signs of this, especially when the cake appears in Hallowee Ville.
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  • Bragging Rights Reward: Kutaro's original head, which you get after you beat the game. It has the ability to activate every head action without the intended head.
  • Bright Castle: Castle Waxwane
  • The Chosen One: Subverted; Ezma went through a LOT of "chosen ones" until Kutaro happened to get past the staircase of violent death. It helps that he had the unique ability to get up to three health points (and regenerate these), but other than that he's just a normal kid.
  • Clockworks Area: The second half of Act 6: Curtain 2 takes place in a giant clock tower. Professor Gregorious even mentions how the gears make convenient footholds.
  • Colossus Climb: Inverted, the final boss against the Moon Bear King has you literally cut him down to size until he's just a head.
  • Cool Sword: By appearances when closed, the magical pair of scissors Calibrus. Wielded like one it's more like a blunt instrument. Still excellent for cutting though.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The Moonstone, the source of the Moon Goddess's power and what keeps the balance in the Moon Kingdom in check. First, it was shattered into two Moonstones by the Moon Bear King, and then the Moon Bear King shattered the light side of the Moonstone even further into twelve Moonstone Shards and entrusted one piece each to his twelve Generals.
  • Crosshair Aware: General Horse's missiles show crosshairs on the ground before striking.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ying Yang, Ezma's cat.
    "Lovely, another dunce who left his head in the Moon Bear King's belly..."
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Nebula Oblongata gets mad if you call her Susan.
  • Eastern Zodiac: All of the Moon Bear King's generals follow this theme.
  • Fantastic Light Source: The Snackerbosk forest uses both fireflies and pumpkins as sources of light in an otherwise pitch-black forest. The fireflies also double as a safeguard against the wandering ghosts.
  • Fetch Quest: Kutaro is another kid in a long line of kidnapped children sent by the Witch to fetch her the Moon Bear King's scissors.
  • Framing Device: The whole game's story takes place within a puppet show being performed by Gregorious T. Oswald and the actors and puppeteers of the theatre he runs.
  • Geek: Gregorious starts to geek out when there's giant robots or airplanes about.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The Robo Crab boss. Using the crab head during it causes an ACTUAL giant crab to appear. And yes, they DO make the obvious jokes.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: The Octopus boss.
  • Ironic Echo: "Kutaro, will you be my friend? Pals to the bitter end?"
  • Killed Off for Real: All 12 of the generals are killed. General Rat gets strangled, General Dragon gets cut to pieces, General Monkey gets lost in space and so on and so on.
    • Possibly averted since every general is seen during the ending credits. Since every character is an actor, it's possible that their deaths were just for the story and not intended to be real. It's also possible that while the bosses fought may be dead, the child versions of them might have survived, since Little Bear lives while Moon Bear King dies. We just never actually see them.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: A Knight head where the shining armors is a gameplay element.
  • Large Ham: Considering it's a play, there are a lot of these. The Kappagaeru mother and Nebula Oblongata are this in-universe.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: When the Moon Bear King shattered the Light Moon Stone, not only did it rob the Moon Goddess of her divinity and beauty, but it also wiped her memories of her previous identity. For three years, she believed she was but an ugly, old witch named Ezma Potts, and isn't until Kutaro and Pikarina reassemble the Light Moon Stone that her memories (along with her true form) come back to her.
  • Level Ate:
    • One of the very first levels takes place in the Witch's kitchen, and is spent jumping on various oversized foodstuffs.
    • Curtains 1 and 2 of Act 5 have lots of candy and pumpkins in them, but it's specifically stated that eating them will turn you into a monster.
  • Losing Your Head: Kutaro has his head ripped off in the intro to prevent him from taking up the mantle of the Chosen One and defeat the Moon Bear King.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Killing General Dragon causes the gateway between the Earth and the Moon to stay open, allowing the Moon Bear King to continue swallowing souls.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: As Ying Yang says, Ezma's strategy of sending the children trapped as puppets to retrieve Calibrus (Or, in his words, "into certain mewtilation") makes her just as bad as the tyrant.
  • Precision F-Strike: The characters say "damn" and "hell" at a few points.

Alternative Title(s): Puppeteer