Penny's Big Breakaway

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Penny's Big Breakaway


Old-school 3D Platforming


I owned the original PlayStation in my younger days and loved the 3D platforming games on the console such as Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon. Penny's Big Breakaway follows in a similar mould to those classic style game, from the 3D camera angles to the bright visuals. In the game, players take on the role of Penny, a yo-yo expert who heads off to an audition in front of the Emperor Eddie. Unfortunately, things go awry resulting in her accidentally disrobing the leader. It is at this point that she begins her breakaway, now on the run from the Emperor’s army of penguins – I guess they're Emperor Penguins.

In a various array of colourful settings, Penny is chased by the penguins as she runs, jumps, and uses her yo-yo in a variety of ways to move through each level. The yo-yo is Penny's area of expertise, and she can perform numerous yo-yo tricks to escape. She can use it to smash objects and attack any enemy penguins that confront her, as well as use it as a whip like Indiana Jones and attach it to poles and swing across chasms. Indeed, at times she doesn't even need a pole to latch onto and can use it in a double-jump style fashion, using it to propel her forward. Each particular move that Penny can perform is a yo-yo trick, such as 'walk-the-dog' or 'around-the-world.' Other objects that Penny can pick up are also available from time to time.

As well as escaping the clutches of the Emperor penguins, Penny will be collecting coins and other power-ups along the way – similarly to the classic 3D platformers. One thing that differs from those old-school titles is the inclusion of secondary tasks where Penny will help out the locals. During her journey through the levels, the citizens will ask Penny to perform various tasks – from deliveries notes to mowing lawns and completing these tasks gives Penny bonuses. These tasks give players an excuse to explore the maps, rather than staying on the somewhat linear paths of the main story.

Camera angles

One minor issue with the preview code of Penny's Big Breakaway is something that often caused issues with 3D PlayStation titles – the camera angle. Although the camera follows Penny around, Penny is changing directions on a regular basis, and the camera often feels like it is struggling to catch up. This can lead to jumping in the slightly wrong direction, or obscured vision from time to time.

There is a note as you load the game to advise that 'This game is best enjoyed with a Gamepad.' This is no joke…I tried playing with the keyboard, and it is doable to a degree - if you have a third hand. The twin-stick nature of Penny's Big Breakaway lends itself to a controller and for the most part, this works well, as you run, jump, and fling your yo-yo all around.

However, I did encounter an issue with the controls – although, I overcame this reasonably quickly – was that pressing the X button also caused me to fall off a building and plummet to my death multiple times. Double pressing the X button acts as a dash function, but there were times when I would be trying to knock over barrels as quick as possible (to gain a multiplier boost), and as a result would press the X button too quickly and dash off the building or platform I was standing on.

Up and down – like a yo-yo

Penny's Big Breakaway has all the hallmarks of a classic PlayStation title with its bright colours and fun characters. The gameplay and story too, have a fun, if not somewhat chaotic, atmosphere that will appeal to a range of gamers. And although the controls and camera can be a little annoying at times, there is still time for the developers to iron out some of these minor niggles before release.

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