Yo Noid 2 is a free fan game and the unofficial sequel to the similarly titled NES game, ‘Yo Noid’. No longer are we limited to the 2D landscape, as in this new entry we are now able to freely explore the levels and attempt to reach the Domino’s Pizza found at the end. Starting off, we are greeted with this appropriately cheesy live action FMV cut-scene that reveals that our anti-hero protagonist’s yo-yo has been stolen. We are then tossed straight into a stage to get a feel for this title, and its unexpectedly competent parkour-like gameplay.
There is no double jumping here, in order to reach our destination we must run off walls, kick off of walls to change directions and grab ledges. This game has been made in a month which makes it all the more surprising of how smooth and responsive it all feels with the level design complementing the gameplay perfectly. Around the levels, there are pizzas to collect that serve more as indicators to let you know where you haven’t been than actual collectibles as there is no count of how many you’ve collected or any use to them.
After you finish the first level, you are given your yoyo that serves to latch onto certain platforms and pull swing off them Indiana Jones style. This too works very well and is the only thing you’ll unlock throughout the game. Some may be turned off by the lack of variety, but it keeps the gameplay focused and free of gimmicks. It is all about refining your platforming skills to keep up with the ever increasing difficulty. In fact, there are no enemies, and the Noid can’t even attack leading this to be a pure platformer without the sub par combat that so many other 3D Platformers tack on. He does have a button dedicated to dabbing on them Noid haters. It is completely useless though I most certainly made use of it.
Finishing the first level also throws us into the Noid Void which serves as an overworld to other levels. It is a giant sized area with very little in it, and at first, I hated it as it felt like pointless filler. That is until I started to get a feel of the true tone of the game that at first appears like just cheeky humor. There is an underlying, near surreal feeling of unease throughout. Like someone really good at faking a smile but just can’t quite pull it off, leaving you feeling like he is about to murder you more so than happy to see you. For the more perceptive readers, you may have noticed that I said the plot has us searching for our yo-yo and that we end up receiving it in the first level.
Yeah, I wish I could tell you what the plot was about there after but it has completely gone over my head with the sometimes philosophical words of the pizza topping NPCs. There are plenty of NPCs that you can listen to placed around the game with most interactions with them mostly being comical, some having advice for you and a few who make you feel like you just took the red pill from The Matrix. All dialogue is shown in a visual novel like format and every character has a few random sounds they utter to simulate interaction similar to Banjo-Kazooie.
Gameplay does not just consist of platforming throughout. You will also encounter the occasional puzzle to spice things up. These are not too difficult and at times not too simple either. They mostly strike the right balance as to be enjoyable even if you are not a fan of puzzles. Your major foe that impedes your progress at times will be the camera. It is sadly not all that good, and there are times where you’ll be struggling just as much with it as the platform you are trying to reach. It is thankfully not locked, and you have total control over it. This flaw is far from gamebreaking however, it works fine most of the time, but it is something you’ll notice from time to time.
As you no doubt noticed by now, the game is in the 4:3 aspect and appears to be right out of the Dreamcast era. You only have a single preset graphic setting, so the only thing you can change is the resolution. On a positive note is that the frame-rate isn’t capped meaning that you can play this at the highest fps your monitor will allow. It also has native controller support which means that simply downloading it and double clicking on the .exe is all you’ll have to do to play this.
Once you finish a level, you will be thrown back out into the overworld. There are no indicators that you have finished the stage once you leave it so make sure you make a mental note of where you’ve been as once you leave everything in it will reset meaning you could easily do the same level twice if you are not paying attention. You can leave a level at any time by returning to the pizza box that you entered from though this issue combined with the confusing and needlessly large overworld will make it a nightmare if you don’t know which is the stage you’ve yet to complete.
Gathering the pizza in a level will place it in the middle of the overworld and once you gather them all you will be able to reach the foreboding looking planet in the sky to take place in the final battle. In there is the only section of the game with a boss fight, and also the only time you’ll have to fight something by flinging objects at them. It was an interesting change of pace though the fact that you can’t die in this game and falling off a ledge instantly respawns you back where you fell, did ruin any tension it might have had. The fact that there is no punishment for failing a jump does not make other levels easy however. Sure you can eventually inch yourself past the finish line but completing that insane Temple level is still worthy of a pat on the back.
In the end of the day, this is an insanely well-made title that begs to question what kind of amazing game the people behind it can make given more than a month. Why they choose to use a mascot that officially died before the 90’s even came around is another mystery though fingers crossed Domino does not take the game down as it is well worth playing. This is a well made 3D platformer with more content and surprises than one would expect. From navigating environments in a manner that would give Ezio Auditore a run for his money, to the fun puzzles and awesome music, it is all definitely an experience fans of the genre or anyone willing to give it a shot should experience.
Download link to: Yo Noid 2