Once upon a time in Japan, a game called Poinie’s Poin was released. It was an extremely odd duck. It was set in a world where odd essences, called Poins, could be used to influence the emotions of various people and creatures. A pure-hearted boy named Poinie with a sentient, duck-shaped Poin stuck to his behind is given the ability to grab these orbs and use them to alter the world and save those tainted by poisoned Poins.
In practice, Poinie’s Poin is often far from perfect. The game can be a mess. The camera is terrible. The script goes some places. The voice acting is grating. But there is one thing about the game that does have merit. The idea of influencing emotions to alter the environment and gameplay is a promising premise. Even though it is not always executed well here, there are moments where things get to be rather clever.
There are three kinds of Poins in Poinie’s Poin. Blue brings on sadness, red inspires anger, and yellow causes happiness. If you need a specific color and it is absent, but the other two colors exist, you can combine them to create the missing color. These orbs have additional properties to them; Poinie can hold one and jump to glide or place one to use as a platform. But the primary function is to toss or bump them into an enemy to inspire an emotion, thus purifying poison.
The initial boss fight is rather basic. When you fight a poisoned version of Lilin, you just match the correct Poins to the color shown in an indicator in the upper right corner of the screen. But subsequent areas and bosses are far more intricate. When people reach the garden area, a race is discovered that can knock down or push obstacles when angry. Of course, first you need to cure the poison infecting them, but then you can use these guys’ anger in a constructive way. They can push pots or knock cars off of platforms. When you reach a dried out lake, you can use the sad Poins to alter the environment. A plant grows to grant access to a new area when watered. The boss will calm down when you make him cry enough to refill his depleted lake.
Each area focuses on one of these Poins, introducing a way in which a specific emotion causes certain characters to perform in a way that helps you fulfill objectives. Proper application helps you solve puzzles. And, since you can sometimes have limited Poins available, creating the right colors becomes necessary to both survive and succeed. It gradually ramps up the difficulty when it comes to asking people to perform. The pressure intensifies. As you learn more about emotions, Poinie’s Poin demands more of you and makes you think.
Poinie’s Poin is not a revolutionary game, but it is interesting. Its flaws hide a system that can be quite clever. It requires you to pay attention. You need to find or create the proper Poins to influence the world around you. In more relaxed moments, this will solve puzzles and allow you to progress through an area. When the situation is more dire, it means altering the state of the boss or ancillary characters to achieve a desired result. While the adventure is nothing extraordinary, the idea of using emotions to alter the world can sometimes be rather special.