Pode is a cute co-up puzzle game about a cube of stone and a fallen star teaming up to reach the top of a mountain-tree-thing. Each character has its own unique skills that when combined open the doors to some interesting physics-based riddles and gameplay.
I previewed Pode at EGX in September. I sat down with one of the Henchman and Goon’s team and we played it together, and I had a really good time. With a little encouragement I was able to finish the first level and that’s where my demo ended. I stood up, congratulated my ‘team mate’ for making Pode, and told her how excited I was to play it on release.
Fast forward to February and I played Pode at home on my own, and playing Pode at home on my own was a depressing solitary experience that was void of conversation, laughter and fun. Playing Pode at home on my own made me feel lonely.
This is because at the heart of Pode sits an emphasis on companionship and playing it on your own causes so much friction with its entire ethos that a single-player option shouldn’t be an option at all. To play on your own means controlling both characters but trying to find harmonium with yourself when you’re continuously body-swapping is impossible. Trying to cooperate with yourself is a lot harder than you’d think, and Pode makes that evidently clear.
To really accomplish anything, you need someone to bounce ideas off of; someone you feel comfortable experimenting with; someone who won’t judge you for making dumb suggestions. Someone who isn’t you might see a hint, a clue, a solution when you can’t. That’s who you want to play Pode with! You don’t want to be hunched over in the dark, arguing with yourself because neither Me, Myself or I can figure out the damn puzzle! As a single-player gamer it’s easy to go blind and get trapped in a bubble of your own logic, and sometimes you need a friend to pop it and open your eyes.
I don’t want to come across as if I’m shitting all over Pode because I’m not. It’s a beautiful game inspired by Norwegian culture and I encourage everyone to play it. You can even hold hands in Pode. Holding hands is awesome! So just embrace it with a friend. Talk. Laugh. Have fun. Because doing all of those things on your own is, well, kind of creepy.
Played on PlayStation 4. Thank you to Henchman and Goon for supplying a review code.