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Penko Park review for Nintendo Switch, PC


Platform: Switch
Also on: PC
Publisher: Secret Mode
Developer: Ghostbutter
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

You really don’t have to look very hard to figure out Penko Park’s biggest – and arguably only – influence. It’s an on-rails photography game where you slowly roll through an abandoned wildlife park, taking pictures of the odd flora and fauna you find inside.

Clearly, it’s heavily indebted to Beasts of Maravilla Island.

I’m kidding, of course: Penko Park is basically Pokémon Snap. A lower-budget, slightly weirder version of Pokémon Snap, to be sure, but Pokémon Snap all the same.

Just because Penko Park isn’t exactly original, however, it doesn’t mean that the game isn’t overflowing with charm. The park is full of strange-looking monsters, all of them looking like they were hand-drawn with care. The same goes for the world itself: it’s hardly photorealistic, but at the same time it feels lived-in.

In this respect, it helps that the more you play, the more you can uncover. Snapping pictures helps you unlock new tools, like a grappling hand and Ghost-o-Vision, which in turn help reveal more secrets that the park is hiding. Again, it’s not like there’s some massive, intricate mystery – the game is only three or four hours long – but it does enough to make you feel like there’s more to Penko Park than just getting your timing down to snap three-star photos.

And that, in turn, is enough to make Penko Park worth checking out. It’s not going to make anyone forget about the existence of Pokémon Snap, but it certainly does enough to justify picking it up.

Secret Mode provided us with a Penko Park Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A-