Ayo The Clown Review (Switch): Platform Clown Shoes

When his beloved pet dog Bo disappears, Ayo the clown heads out on a mission to find him in this throwback 2.5D platform adventure full of all kinds of cuteness.

Ayo The Clown doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it does a very good job at combing the things that work for platformers and takes the edge off a little, in a good way, by making it charming, entertaining, and accessible for a broad audience. 

Platforms games have been relatively unchanged over the decades, save for a few innovations such as 2.5D. Perhaps that doesn’t sound so innovative, but the genre has come ahead in leaps and bounds – pun intended, and this title from Cloud M1 borrows the mechanics that work.

First thing’s first; Ayo’s dog, Bo, is missing. All the evidence points towards a kidnapping, so Ayo decides to head out, speak to the locals and find out where he’s gone. As a player, you don’t have to do much detective work, just show up for each world and subsequent stage and get through to the end. Any clues where Bo has gone will be uncovered as you go along.

Ayo The Clown Review

Ayo The Clown is a side-scrolling platform game, and yes, one of those innovative 2.5D titles we began with. As mentioned, it doesn’t break any new ground, but what it does, it does it well. Ayo isn’t particularly cute – he looks a little like a deformed marshmallow with a face on it, but the cutscenes – and brilliant narration – levelled him out as a decent chap.

Ayo The Clown Switch Review - M.C. Hammer joke
M.C. Hammer joke. Source: PR

The areas he’ll explore are nice and colourful without going overboard, and the variety in the game is pretty good, too. It’s interesting to note that he doesn’t start with any skills such as jump, which is fundamental in a platformer, but it works well. Instead of jumping, he’ll walk on appropriate platforms to launch him above until he completes a sidequest to learn the new skill.

Subsequent skills and tricks will follow, such as a balloon that will carry him just that tad further over a chasm or a little higher than his jump will reach. Other skills include being able to drive a tank and even a helicopter. Ayo’s new abilities are introduced in a timely manner, allowing you to explore a fair amount, but note that you may end up coming back to an area once you unlock new skills to reach new treasures.

Said treasures are collectables scattered in every level and entirely optional, but it’s hard not to at least attempt a 100% collection rate. There are secret locations galore – simple ones, mind. Just push up next to a wall, and if a secret area, the wall will disappear, leading to a room full of gems. Besides Ayo the clown being a kleptomaniac, these gems can be used to upgrade things such as a bigger balloon or more health, but it takes a fair amount of time to earn, so perhaps it is worth dismissing the first time around.

Like A Boss

As a platform game, you have to save bosses for the end of each world, and Ayo The Clown delivers here. Predominantly easy battles that only need a few hits, the attack patterns will change each phase, showcasing a good use of the 2.5D elements – notably an early battle where an enemy rolls back and forth into the background and foreground. 

Ayo The Clown Switch Review - Shark-infested
Shark-infested. Source: PR

Other boss battles aren’t so exciting and a little sluggish. On a couple of occasions, the movements were so slow that I incurred a few too many deaths for a seemingly effortless challenge – the response time, in particular, was just too slow. But this is one of the few minor issues with the game.

Older gamers, or perhaps those looking for a challenge, may find this a little too simplistic. While doing this Ayo The Clown review, I roped in my daughters to play. As expected, the eldest wasn’t a fan and found it too baby-like. The youngest (four) loved it and would frequently ask to play it, though not having that jump option early on meant it was down to daddy to complete a few areas.

As for me, I enjoyed the game. It’s pretty relaxing in some respects, and the levels of cute are quite infectious without having the urge to hurl in a bucket. Granted, it is a little slow-moving. There are no timers and generally speaking, Ayo is a bit of a slowpoke, but that’s quite refreshing compared to some of the more recent platformers released.

It’s a relatively big game, too – if you consider the number of treasures to collect and the upgrades if you feel inclined to unlock them. We were lucky to be provided with a review code for Ayo The Clown quite early on, which allowed plenty of time to play through at a leisurely pace, and given the time we’ve had it, it’s one we keep coming back to, especially for my youngest. Fun, inoffensive, and bound to keep the kids away from that box of matches.

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