Party people: play pixel puzzle-platformer Pico Park

The Japanese indie scene has lagged behind the West a bit, despite arguably founding its modern era through Daisuke Amaya’s Cave Story. There’s definitely been a number of quality releases, but as trends go, it’s usually a year or two before the community jumps into the fray. That said, when games show up, they have a very different feel and are worth a look.

A great example? Pico Park, a long-in-development PC game from Tecopark that has finally seen release. PC local multiplayer has exploded since the early days of TowerFall, but Pico Park takes a more cooperative approach, tasking two to ten players with completing one-screen stages with varied twists.

Pico Park

Early stages make it simpler, which is a good thing if you’re really going double-digits: stacking atop each other and pushing blocks together can be challenging enough. Later rounds bring in precise timing, one character moved with democratically-determined input, a move-on-red-and-die traffic light and more. Like Breakout. Look at that up there and tell me you aren’t intrigued.

Pico Park doesn’t really bring a lush aesthetic or a ton of polish to the table: it’s an indie game in the true sense. Its focus is to put the fun in functional, and it does just that. It develops a very simple look and makes it work to its benefit.

It’s not a very long game — my friends and I completed a four-player run in under an hour — but at just under five bucks, a morsel of quirk that doesn’t overstay its welcome is more than worth it. (Though hey, psst, Tecopark, I’d pay for more levels that iterate and expand upon these ideas.)

Pico Park

Pico Park is available on Steam now. You can find out more at the game’s site.

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