I just finished playing Papo & Yo, and I think it's pretty good.
The game is about a boy who is dealing with his alcoholic father. This is a strong theme for a game and they handled it greatly. If you want a story to stick with you after you finished the game, this game is the right choice for you. So fans of REAL story in games can enjoy this.
The gameplay is very dreamy. The world we play in is obviously the outcome of the kid's strong imagination. The floating houses, our toy who helps us and a mysterious little girl who we chase throughout the game, are all very dreamy and symbolic. This is Papo & Yo's strongest point. The art direction is phenomenal. It's what makes you want to play the game. The developer team seems to put a serious amount of work into creating the best atmosphere possible.
Gameplay is linear, which is perfectly fine; but the weak point of the game is puzzle designs. There were no puzzles in the game that would surprise me and stick with me after the game. The puzzles were simple and more to the point of progression of the story. The puzzle mechanics are selected so that you would feel the complex relationship between the boy and the monster, but it lacks serving something original, in terms of actual puzzle design. Again, the art direction is very strong, which puts meanings and strong aesthetics to each puzzle, so even though they are simple, you don't hate solving them, because they look beautiful: Things like the boy carrying a box to see the box controls an actual house floating in the air. And because these puzzles actually mean something for the story. This is an important point, since one of the most important and hard to achive things in game development is telling the story through mechanics and gameplay. I cannot say Papo & Yo succeeds in that a hundred percent: We still deal with boring 3D platforming sections, key-door puzzles and all; but generally, gameplay doesn't seem so far away from the story. When monster's asleep, the boy can climb up to monster's belly to jump up. We are trying to get rid of frogs all the time, which makes monster a terrible creature who would throw the kid around and make him suffer. Things like these are the real deal when it comes to telling the story through mechanics. In this way, a big part of gameplay gets the player to understand the complex relationship between the boy and the monster, which is more complex than a "love-hate" relationship. It's something like "love-hate-a little bit of love-so much hate-I still love you daddy-oh my god my life's ruined" relationship.
There are serious frame rate issues in this game when the game is loading a new place with all the models and textures. I would much rather a proper loading screen than dealing with low frame rate in game while waiting for the new place to be loaded.
The animations are nice, but the texture quality is not great. Especially when a cutscene shows the boy's face close-up, it becomes a PS2 game instead of PS3. But other than that, the textures did not bother me. Although I didn't try out "Very High" graphics option, which may or may not solve the texture problem in the cutscenes.
The sound design and soundtrack was great. I loved it, the music was perfect and the sound assets were rich enough to make me feel the boy's actually jumping across roofs. The soundtrack is wonderfully composed and recorded, which is really helping the general feeling of the game.
SPOILERS START HERE
I found a bug in the game when I picked up an extra blue fruit and went with it to the next area. The monster supposed to be angry throughout the puzzle, but I got this extra fruit so I gave it to him, and then the puzzle was all chilled out! I just did the platforming and all but the monster wasn't trying to eat me, all was fine, although the girl was constantly yelling "OKAY NOW DISTRACT THE MONSTER SO I CAN CHALK THE MISSING PARTS". But the monster's all chilled out, he's just there eating some fruits, what about it?! Then when it was complete, of course the monster was supposed to be still angry. The cutscene came which showed the angry monster eating the little girl. The cutscene ended with the monster being chilled out again. Which was bad. I SAVED MY LITTLE SISTER YOU BASTARDS! GIVE HER BACK TO ME!
SPOILERS END HERE
If you're looking for a recommendation of the game, here you go. I think you should play the game, just to experience the atmosphere and the relationship. It really makes you feel some feelings where you want to cry your manhood away. It's a great game. If it had better puzzle design, I would say it's a timeless classic, but in this case, I'm really looking forward to what Minority team will come up with next. This game will definitely bring them a loyal fanbase who respect games with strong themes.