Mr. Pumpkin Adventure review for PS Vita, Xbox One, PC

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PC, Wii U, Xbox One
Publisher: QubicGames
Developer: CottonGame
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

For about two minutes, I was really into Mr. Pumpkin Adventure. A quirky puzzle game with a distinctive look? That sounds like a recipe for fun!

Then I actually started playing, and everything went to hell.

Now, I should emphasize that everything doesn’t fall to pieces immediately. It’s more a slow, gradual process. It starts off with a few minor things, and then the game’s issues get worse and worse, until finally it all comes to an abrupt, early end.

The few minor things: you discover, moments after starting to play Mr. Pumpkin Adventure, that the controls don’t actually work the way the game says they do. It may tell you that you can use buttons to make use of various interactive objects, but all it takes is moving the mouse over one item and clicking a button futilely a few times for you to discover that that’s not actually true.

But, you say to yourself (or, at least, I said to myself), that’s okay, you can just use the touchscreen instead. No biggie.

Then you start playing, and discover that while the game’s art continues to be wonderfully weird, and the story makes as much sense as you’d expect Japanese game about a sentient pumpkin to make, some of the puzzles are a little…lacking in logic. Not all of them, to be sure, but there are enough of them that require random clicking and a healthy dose of luck that it becomes hard to describe the puzzles as “fun.” On top of that, you discover that dragging objects from your inventory with your finger doesn’t always work. In fact, I’m having trouble remembering a time when I didn’t have to make two or three attempts — at least — to use an inventory item.

But again, you say to yourself: that’s cool, part of the fun with puzzle games is figuring out the logic of their creators. You just need to find a walkthrough to help you with the challenging bits, and you’re set. The wonky touch controls are a little harder to excuse, but at this point, they’re not game-breaking, so you can learn to live with them.

Then you take a break, and, to your consternation, discover that all your progress has vanished because Mr. Pumpkin Adventure doesn’t have an autosave.

Again here, you can make allowances: it’s annoying, but it’s relatively easy enough to save at any time. Sure, you have to press “Menu” a few times to get it to open, but you just have to get in that habit. And at this point, there’s nothing bad about the game. A few design choices that may make you raise an eyebrow, but nothing that makes the make deserving of the title “broken trash.”

And then you try to start the fifth chapter, the whole thing crashes, and all that goes out the window.

I played through the fourth chapter multiple times, and every time, without fail, the game would crash and restart. I restarted my system, I checked for game updates, I deleted and redownloaded the game: different approaches, same end result. No matter how hard I tried, no matter what I did, I couldn’t play Mr. Pumpkin Adventure beyond the end of chapter four.

So, add it all together, and what do you have? A broken game with crappy controls, no autosave, and a bunch of nonsensical puzzles. In other words, you’d be wise to avoid Mr. Pumpkin Adventure at any and all costs.

Grade: F