Ayo The Clown Review (NSW)
Updated: Dec 2, 2021
Developed: Cloud M1
Published: Cloud M1
Release Date: July 27th,2021
*Game provided to me by Cloud M1
Ayo The Clown is an indie platformer developed and published by Cloud M1. What do you get when you mix the combination of a Circus and clowns? Well most of the time that answer would be sheer and utter terror. But here with Ayo The Clown, while we may be dealing with both of these topics, the terror is not to be found thankfully. Cloud M1 attempts to bring us a light hearted and cute imaginative platformer without having to stare into the deadlights, but do they succeed in entertaining us? Or should we yell back to them ''This is battery acid you slime'' before spraying them in the face with our inhalers to stay away?. Only one way to find out, so, on with the show!
In Ayo’s hometown, things are generally peaceful. Accompanied by his talented circus dog, Bo, Ayo juggles in the park, hangs out at the carnival and longs after the Shoemaker’s granddaughter. Until one day, Bo goes missing!. It is now up to Ayo leave on an adventure to discover what happened to his dog and bring his buddy back home safe and sound.
Ayo The Clown is a cute indie platformer that to me takes a lot of inspiration from titles like Yoshi's Story or even newer entries like Yoshi's Crafted World, Yoshi's Woolly World, and even a little bit of John Wick thrown in there for good measure. Well, without all the rampaging that is. Ayo The Clown starts you off with a cute little set piece that introduces you to the main character, Ayo, a little clown who loves only three things in life, the carnival, his dog and the shoemaker's granddaughter. One night as he's fast asleep dreaming of silly things like him and his dog going trick and treating, but role reversing themselves as Clown going as dog and dog going as a clown, but he's woken up by a startling noise. Hastily he gets to his feet only to find his little doggo is nowhere to be found, his little buddy is gone and there's no sign of him. Angrily he walks into his basement, takes a sledgehammer, and begins slamming it into the floor, revealing an army level of arsenal at his disposal. He whispers in grief and anger to himself, ''I put the carny life behind me, but you just had to have me back didn't you? well Its safe to say that yeah, I think I'm back!''. Ok, well actually no, that part didn't happen at all, not even close. But his dog did disappear, but where did he go?. This is where we begin our platforming adventure to find out all these answers and more.
As stated before, Ayo The Clown seems to take inspiration from the recent bout of Yoshi games like Woolly World and Crafted World in more ways than one. Graphically it has this clay like style that makes it feel like a hybrid between Woolly World or Links Awakening remake on Nintendo Switch. Venturing through each of the 8 worlds and seeing all the different art designs used for each section such as your basic grass zone like levels that you normally see in every first stage of Mario 2D games, Forest areas that change how you navigate by using vines and other means for traversing or the water based levels that require precise jumping from board to board to avoid jumping sharks trying to eat you. All of these worlds culminating in an end boss fight in order to proceed to the next section of the world, like most traditional platformer games. But how does the game actually play you ask? Well grab your drink and a bag of popcorn because were about to get into it. Just try and stay away from the popcorn that actually eats YOU, isn't that right, Jumbo?
Ayo The Clown doesn't exactly reinvent the wheel when it comes to platforming, but does it really have to? honestly? no it does not. It just has to do what makes other platformers fun and then add their own unique twist or design to the title to make it an enjoyable experience and overall I believe it achieves this goal. In the game play department, its your basic design with you controlling Ayo and taking him through spinning platforms, spikes, fire, mechanisms that squash you and so forth, and to navigate through it all, you move left and right, up and down using traditional platforming controls. The first few levels of your journey acts as your basic tutorial with the game teaching you how to move around your area, while also breaking you into the games mechanics, such as jumping, jumping and hovering or ducking and sliding. The jumping and hovering mechanic follows the same principals as Yoshi's hover float, only this time replacing yoshi's little kicking feet and grunting noises, with physical balloons. Balloons. Clowns. Seems pretty fitting right?. With the balloon this gives you access to hover over basic enemies, make it to railing or other sections of the map that you couldn't normally access, as well discover new secrets hidden inside the walls to further gather the games collectibles. But balloons aren't the only clown gag at your disposal to use. I mean, why stop at balloons. For weapons against the enemy types in this game, you have the ability to throw water balloons. Albeit they aren't really needed when it all comes down to it. I'll explain why.
At its core, Ayo The Clown is a VERY easy game. Not Kirby easy where the game plays itself for you, but once again, like a, repeat it with me, Yoshi game. I feel like a broken record saying that, but I feel its not a disservice to the game, but quite the opposite, a compliment. You will die in this game, but it will not be do to the enemy variety and a lot of time its not even do to the bosses either. Self error and miss timing a jump is a key culprit here when it comes to your death, but that's not what I'm talking about is it?. Lets get back on topic. The reason why I bring up the games difficulty and the use of water balloons in the same category is because while, yes, its fun to use at times, it has a weird arc like the rock throwing in Friday the 13th on the NES. Besides being awkward to throw, there's really no reason to actually use it against any enemy whatsoever. I'm not even joking. The game is so easy to that point where you can literally just focus on just platforming and making it through the level, with the occasional bop on the head by jumping on an enemy to defeat them. I'm not exaggerating. Don't get it twisted though, I'm not saying the game is bad because of this, if anything, it gives you more incentive to want to speed run it like I subconsciously started doing out of instinct during my playthrough.
So while the game may be easy, yes and weapons are pretty useless overall, yes. I do not feel that's a huge factor in determining this games worth overall. This games strength thrives off its amazing level design, fun boss fights, imaginative enemy variety, fluidity of its controls and vast level diversity that keeps every single thing in the game fresh. One moment you'll be simple platforming left and right, climbing a vine or a mesh wall, but two seconds later you're fighting using a tank or helicopter to take down enemies, running from a giant bear that chases you in an escape type of mission, defying gravity by becoming magnetic for specific levels that makes you switch between top of the level to bottom and so much more. All backgrounds for each section of this game feel like they breathe their own life, nothing feels borrowed or even copy and pasted. Every level feels like it was designed specifically for the purpose of the theme it was going for and adding in the vibrant and alive world ,the art style, and design of these levels on top of it, brings it all together. I swear, at times you could be fooled into thinking you're playing a first party Nintendo title. That's my opinion and that won't change. I fell in love with this stuff. But guys, if you know me, you pretty much know what I'm about to say right? What's the one thing that I talked about earlier that I didn't get back to. Oh ya, that's right, boss fights. You know how I love me some boss fights. So lets briefly talk about this before making our wrap up!
The boss fights in this game for sure are easy as pie, no, not the acidic type of pies from Killer Klowns from Outer Space. No not the pie The Rock talks about, no. I'm talking about a cake walk. Mmm.. I want cake. Sooo anyways. The boss fights range from easy to super easy. That doesn't necessary mean their bad just because they're easy, far from it. In fact I think the boss fights themselves show just how much creativity the folks over at CloudM1 actually have. You start off with a simple fat troll, who rolls around the area you fight him in, until he gets dizzy enough so you can smash his belly. But then soon branch off to fights vs a gigantic bear where speed and timing is your ally, a hip hop frog, yes thats right, a hip hop frog, where you have to use a word based mini game mechanic to injure him. He gives you words and you have to spell them out in order to gain the chance to injure him and defeat him. Guess that means, whether its in the rain or in the snow, he will not have that funky funky flow. You even take on a little wolf disguised as a gigantic robot because he gets so mad that you're happy and he's not. He's never learned how to laugh or smile. Well I could make you smile buddy. BEEP BEEP WOLFY. There's so much more than I can say about this title. I've tried to think of really bad negatives to keep this balanced, but other than weapons being useless and maybe the game being too easy. I can't critique the negatives in this game without venturing into the realm of nitpicking and finding stuff purposely to be mad at and that's not how I do things around these parts.
When Its all said and done, Ayo The Clown is and was an absolute joy to play from start to finish. It's been a long time since I've felt a platformer performed at this high of a level where I had trouble to even find overall negatives about it and I think that's a victory in itself considering how many platform games I digest yearly. It's got all the makings of a great and inviting title for all ages with its great soundtrack, vibrant colorful worlds that feel unique and alive, fun but short boss fights, great level variety that shifts the focus from platforming to other means of traversing, cute story about a lost doggo and very smooth and fluid controls that packages everything time into one great feeling game. Sure there are some minor downsides like maybe the game isn't that hard and can be beaten in roughly 4 hours or so and also weapons at times can be pretty useless. However, I feel there is a lot more positive than any negative that would make me change my mind on this verdict. So with all this being said, my verdict is clear. GameNChick says BUY NOW. Come on. DON'T YOU WANT IT!?.
Interested in purchasing this title? https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/ayo-the-clown-switch/