#WeeklyGameMusic: Liberation (La Muerte de Papo) (Papo & Yo)

#WeeklyGameMusic: New week, new music.

This week’s music comes from a touching and tragic game called Papo & Yo.  Despite it’s fantastical (or more correctly, magical realism) settings, the puzzle platformer touches what it’s like to live under parental abuse.  It’s quite fitting, then, that the credits music for this game, Liberation (La Muerte de Papo) by Brian D’Oliveira, depicts a sad, hollow echo of what feels like a child trying to connect with his/her parent, but the feeling isn’t reciprocated.

Papo & Yo starts with a small, South American boy named Quico hiding from what appears to be a monster (only the shadow is revealed).  While being cramped inside an air duct, a magical chalk drawing of a portal appears near Quico.  As if entranced, our hero walks through the portal, teleporting him to what looks like a bright, colorful outdoors of a slum neighborhood.  Immediately taunted by a girl about the same age as Quico, he ventures out in the new universe he’ve stumbled upon filled with incredible art and imagination.

As a 3D puzzle-platformer, Papo & Yo has a lot of interactive chalk drawings acting as switches, gears, or pulleys to affect the surroundings.  Playing around with these drawings can cause various effects, including twisting the ground to turn into walls, or making buildings fly like birds to create platforms.  Despite this creative core, however, the most vital game element is the uneasy relation the player has with a monster.  Helpful but lazy, the monster can help push heavy objects or provide his bouncy belly as a way to jump towards higher platforms.  Unfortunately, said monster also has a horrible addiction to frogs, causing it to become angry and immediately attack poor Quico.  The puzzles in the game regularly has the player guiding the monster to vital puzzle elements while it’s in a docile state, and avoiding it as soon as frogs hops in at the most inopportune times.

Papo & Yo was originally developed as a downloadable title for Playstation 3.  It is now available on Steam for PC, Mac, and Linux.

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