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How to begin the Pooplers review without some crappy jokes thrown in for good measure? Considering that was the first sentence, job well done. However, is Pooplers going to be your new-found love for multiplayer mayhem or does it leave a nasty smell that needs to be thrown in the bin?
No matter how far you probe, toilet humour is still a funny genre – as infantile as it may be. My comedy interests are sarcasm, irrelevance and occasional satire. Still, poo jokes are like a boomerang of filth that will forever make me laugh and immortalised as my kids repeat these jokes we told in the playground. For that reason, I roped in my eldest daughter to play Pooplers with me to see if it would appeal to at least one of us.
Pooplers is a party game where you take control of an infant leaving a trail of multi-coloured poo like a dirty Hansel and Gretel. Think of it as a bit like Splatoon in some respects. Perhaps it’s to highlight which character you are or to make the game less dirty for doting parents not willing to expose their children to puerile humour, but each player has their own colour poop. The primary goal is to decorate each playable map with your faeces, covering a larger percentage than your opponent(s), but there are other modes too, keeping the flame burning for a simple concept.
There’s no story, so you select from a list of multiplayer games, and that’s it. Pooplers is a party game with local play, but no online features. That may be a decider for some, but if that doesn’t put you off, you can have up to four players or go up against bots as well. In case you don’t have any friends. Of course, you do, but sometimes you just want to play solo, and Pooplers accommodates that, but it’s not as fun.
There are five modes available, so let’s break those down as there’s no room for a story or other features – there aren’t any new characters, levels or unlockables as they’re available from the outset. Perhaps a good thing for a party game as you want everything possible from the start. The modes you choose from are:
- Free for all
- Team match
- Parents vs kids
- Defend horde
Free for all is the bog-standard mode of covering the playing area with poo within the timer. Once it’s up, the person with the most coverage, by way of a percentage, gets the win. During each match, you have a third party out to get you – the mother. If she manages to capture you, she’ll take you back to cot for some downtime. In the meantime, other players can backtrack over your mark and colour with their faeces. You can wriggle out of the adults’ grabs by tapping A when they capture you, or you’ll need to tap when back in your cot. But no fear – the AI is abysmal, and she’ll often walk right past you while you’re performing a dirty protest all over the floor.
Additionally, you can obtain a selection of power-ups that range from hamburgers to invisibility, smoke bombs to toy traps to distract other players. The general purpose of each though is to get more coverage; i.e. eating a burger makes you poo faster and over a broader range. The controls are super simple – you only need X to activate a power-up and the A button to poop. In other game modes, you may only need one button, or the function changes, i.e. when in Parents vs Kids, X activates a power-up for the parents but also allows them to pick up the kids.
Team Match is precisely that; choose a side and beat the other team. There’s no point explaining as it’s the same as the above, only in teams, so let’s jump to Parents vs Kids. This is probably the most fun that we had as one player will take on the role of the parent, and the remainders are the babies. Arguably it’s a lost cause playing the parent as you need to mop up the mess, but the game is won when a player hits over a certain percentage in the time limit. A quick note: as a multiplayer game, you can change the settings at the beginning of every match. Choose a map such as a Halloween theme, construction yard or space setting among others, set the number of bots, rounds, and timer etc. There’s quite a range of options for character creation too which includes changing their colour, their ethnicity and a hat – which ranges from a welders mask to devil horns, but the character models are weird and not remotely cute!
Defend Horde is an unusual game as you select a weapon and have to fend off zombies attempting to steal your candy. This is in waves, and after each wave, you hit a pinata to stock back up on your sweets, but in all honesty, you don’t need to. This mode felt pointless as you can’t get hit, zombies are sluggish and often get stuck behind objects, and out of six buttons presses, your baby will swipe with their sword once or twice. It’s sluggish – the same with the Football mode. You have an oversized football on the pitch and run the ball into the goal while pressing A, the fart button. Movement is unresponsive, and the farts seem more for comedic effect as they don’t seem to offer anything to the game. And while we’re talking about farts for comedic effect…
As I said at the beginning of the review, I was playing this with my daughter. Both being toilet humour philistines, both of us got bored with the fart sounds within about 30 seconds. It’s excessive and not remotely funny. Go into the options where you can usually turn down the sound and music, and you’ll find an option for fart volume. We set this to mute almost immediately. During the Free-For-All, that’s all you hear – toot after toot, but it’s not funny. It’s irritating. The actual gameplay in this mode and the Parents vs Kids was quite enjoyable but short-lived as gameplay gets old quite quick and there’s not enough fun in the other modes to want to play more.
What is perhaps most annoying is the game crashing multiple times, and unconventional crashes at that. We could select a mode, but as soon as it went to the character select screen, we couldn’t enter the game. Checking the controllers were still connected and verifying the buttons worked by hopping back and forth to the main menu, we had to reboot on two occasions for it to work. Unfortunately, loading times are quite slow, so our patience levels weren’t the best. To add insult to injury, Pooplers didn’t have enough charm or longevity to want to continue and is likely to be shelved in our collection, unless someone new comes over and want to see the pooping baby game, which is unlikely.
Knowing full that Pooplers is a low-brow(n) game, it wore thin even for the most infantile of minds who would snigger at anything in a room that sounded like a fart. The characters are quite freaky looking, the game appears to have a couple of bugs when it comes to character selection, but more importantly, Pooplers felt too thin to offer enough enjoyment and was more of a novelty than a go-to party game.
Platform: Steam, Nintendo
Release Date: 20/03/2020
No. of Players: 1-4
Category: Action, Party
Developer: Art Games Studio
Publisher: Ultimate Games S.A.
Download link: eShop