hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

A mindbending hands-on with Poto & Cabenga

12:00 PM on 03.17.2010 // Anthony Burch

Each year, Gamma entrants are asked to make games under certain constraints. This year, all Gamma4 entries must be controlled with a single button. I plan to write up my impressions of all six Gamma4 games.

Not to be confused (or is it?) with Poto and Cabengo, Honeyslug's Gamma4 entry is a singleplayer platformer where one button controls two different characters in two different environments.

If that sounds confusing, it is. It's also highly enjoyable, and equally adorable thanks to its simple, charming art style.

Though Faraway remains my favorite of the Gamma4 games this year, Poto and Cabenga is easily the must-play game of the bunch. Of all the finalists, P&C wrings the most novelty out of the mandated one-button control scheme: Michael Todd likened the experience of playing the game to trying to rub your stomach while patting your head. I disagree. To me, playing Poto and Cabenga is like trying to rub your stomach while patting your head...with the same hand.

Hit the jump for my impressions.

I'm gonna take this step-by-step.

1. There are two characters: Poto, a rider who is swallowed by a dragon and must navigate his way through the dragon's intestinal tract, and Cabenga, his faithful horse who is pursuing the dragon. Poto takes up the top half of the screen, Cabenga the bottom half. A single player simultaneously controls both characters.

2. By holding the button, Cabenga will dash forward and Poto will fall back. By not holding the button, Poto will dash forward and Cabenga will fall back. 

3. Pressing the button also makes Cabenga jump. Letting go of the button makes Poto jump.

I may have screwed up exactly who jumps and who dashes when the button is pressed or released, but if you're totally confused -- good. I've done my job. Poto and Cabenga was, at least initially, a really goddamn difficult game to wrap my head around. Honeyslug managed to map four different actions to the same button, often requiring the player to do two drastically different things at the same time.

Imagine having to get one guy to jump while the other dashes, then immediately switch it around so that they both jump, then slow one down and speed the other up so they can both dodge enemies coming at them from different sections of the screen. If that hurts your head, or sounds impossible, then you might be surprised to find that after a few minutes of play, Poto and Cabenga becomes surprisingly clear. It is, to rip off Michael Todd again, almost exactly like rubbing your stomach and patting your head: when you initially attempt it it seems downright impossible, but after a bit of concentration and some mental reconfiguring, it becomes second nature.

Granted, Poto and Cabenga never actually gets easy -- I finished the game with only one hit point left -- but it always plays fair. Enemies move very slowly and always appear far in advance of when you actually need to react to them, giving the player the necessary amount of time to get past the initial "oh fuck oh fuck wait how do I get that one to go back okay so now he's back wait no the other one is rushing forward oh fuck how do I make them both jump just tap it really quick I guess okay wait go back" reaction that will characterize literally every enemy encounter over the first half of the game. You'll get hurt a lot, but thankfully both Poto and Cabenga have to take something like fifteen hits each before the game ends.

Once you get a hold on the basic controls, you'll feel like a genius. What was once totally incomprehensible suddenly becomes possible, and it feels great. Speaking of great: the final victory cut scene.

Poto and Cabenga isn't out yet, but Honeyslug recommends you keep an eye out on their official blog.




 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Xbone journey continues! I thought I would like Dead Rising 3 well enough as a huge fan of 1/2, but I must say I find it's emphasis on hard drama laughable and the game fundamentally disingenuine. Guess I'm moving on to Forza Horizon 2.
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
I dig the feature in Until Dawn where, if you have the Playstation camera, it will record you briefly during jump scares for you to watch later. It's a really neat use of an underused peripheral. Too bad I'm dead inside and never react to them.
Shinta avatarShinta
[img]http://i.imgur.com/oZ7CQJa.jpg[/img]
nanashi avatarnanashi
Fallout Shelter: Impossible to Learn, Easy to Master.
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
Not saying this is the case, but Kojima has gone on record as being a huge Mad Max: Fury Road fan. Konami decided to release MGSV on the same day as Mad Max TVG. They're trying piss on Kojima's lawn, man.
ooktar avatarooktar
Downloading Phantom Pain. ETA, 16 hours. Just in time for lunch tomorrow.
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
OH WOW. Talk about a complete about face. After slogging through the horrid beginning and slow ass swap sequence this game picked up exponentially. So far, I'm enjoying the hell out of it now. All if forgiven. Thank you based Kojima.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
Oh, joyful night. [youtube]https://youtu.be/6EfhAFA2yFE[/youtube]
techsupport avatartechsupport
After a summer of on-and-off casual play, I've finally reached lv. 34 in Destiny :')
nanashi avatarnanashi
also Fallout Shelter just made me utter this: "I have to get these pregnancies done.." life is trivial in this game!
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
Let it be known that Metal Gear 2 for MXS has aged horribly and is no fun to play. In the midst of a MGS marathon, looks like I'm skipping ahead to MGS.
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
"Available: 31 August - This game will unlock in approximately 2 hours" HOLY SHIET! [youtube]https://youtu.be/9jK-NcRmVcw[/youtube]
nanashi avatarnanashi
-nudge nudge- hey Sony, discount Ys: I and II Chronicles and Ys: Seven on the PSP :D
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just out of curiosity, does anybody here still play Mario Kart 8 at all frequently?
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
Neighbors ended up calling the cops. I hid under a cardboard box. Police officers were perplexed but went back to their patrol routes after a minute or so.
techsupport avatartechsupport
!a new MGS: Ground Zeroes update file auto dl'd and installed..the day prior to MGSV... hmm.. coincidence? OR... coincidence?
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Just got an email from Nintendo saying that my Club Nintendo reward has been shipped and is on its way. Now it's the end of an era. *pours one out for Club Nintendo*
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
I've been thinking of starting up a criticism-minded "game of the month" type podcast. Would anyone be interested in something like that? If you'd wanna be part of it, let me know, I'm generating ideas and looking for contributors
CJ Andriessen avatarCJ Andriessen
Playing the most difficult strategy game ever: trying to figure out what order to beat your backlog in.
ChillyBilly avatarChillyBilly
Transient Ryu stays ripped by riding the rails and throwing other transients off of his rail cars - [IMG]http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b321/Felth/homeless%20ryu.jpg~original[/IMG]
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -