Piyotama

Cheep Puzzle Fun

Piyotama is quirky, simple and dirt freakin' cheap.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: August 26, 2007
Piyotama is a perfect example of Sony's frankly admirable approach to populating the PlayStation Network with a variety of downloadable titles. Yeah, sure, you've got stuff like Warhawk and LittleBigPlanet on there, games that could be (and technically are being) released as a full Blu-ray game, but just as important are downloadable games that aren't over a gig in size. Sony has a handful of incredibly promising games like Everyday Shooter and Echochrome coming too, but with apparently hundreds of projects in the works right now, there are bound to be a couple of surprise gems.


Piyotama is exactly that kind of surprise. It's an incredibly simple game, so much so that I'm actually a little surprised that it even has leaderboards (though honestly all downloadable games should have 'em -- I'm looking at you, Everyday Shooter), but the simplicity is the charm. From the light cheeping chicks and the general forest ambience of the main menu to the plucky, almost LocoRoco-like tunes, to the simple but clean aesthetic, the game is little more than a log, an oversexed mama bird, and a seemingly endless supply of eggs that she's dropping into it.

Yeah, sure, the background changes as you rack up more points, but with only two actual game modes -- and the only difference between them being a time limit -- there's really not a whole lot that has to be figured out here (okay, so technically there are three modes if you count the offline two-player games). As the eggs fall down and settle at the bottom of the hollow log, you can move a horizontal cursor up and down or left and right, capturing the three eggs on either the leftmost or rightmost side of that line and pushing them outside the confines of the log. From here you can either shuffle the eggs and slot them back in (which pushes the eggs on the opposite side out of the log), or you can move the trio up to a different line and push them back in there.

The over-arching goal is simply to get four or more eggs in a row, either horizontally or on the diagonal going up and down the log. Once you've notched four eggs, they're locked in and you can move them around to try to make more matches before the little eggs hatch and the chicks in side go flying away. If you need to speed things up, you can shake the controller to hatch them earlier (and shift around some of the eggs at the top of the stack, and if you need more eggs to work with, it's as simple as holding the Square or Triangle buttons to drop more match fodder.

That's it.

No, seriously, that's the whole game. No, it's not that deep, and for the first hour or so I'll be honest in that I was just shuffling crap around like crazy and would often get three, four, five, sometime six combo matches in a row (so long as the highlighted/linked eggs aren't in the little three-egg catches outside of the log, they'll hatch anywhere once they've been lined up, so combos are really quite easy to pull off), but there is some depth to things and in all honesty the fact that the game is less than three bucks completely excuses any complaints I have about depth. It's just a pleasant distraction, and one of the better values on the PlayStation Store.

If this is a sign of the kind of games we're going to be getting more of, stuff that's cheap and simple and fun in short bursts, I say bring it on. At that price, I'm certainly not going to complain.
The Verdict
7.5

Piyotama is a terrific value. At $3, it's just the kind of simple impulse buy the PSN needs, and hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Give it a shot, because honestly, who can't spare three bucks?

7.0Graphics:

Nothing here is complex (or even all that varied besides some basic backgrounds that change as you go up in levels), but then that's the idea. Simple and effective.

7.5Sound:

The ambient music is light and cheery, but the whole game is remarkably subdued. The only constant sounds you'll hear are the light "flick, flick, flick" noises as you shift the eggs around.

10.0Control:

Hey, it's a puzzle game, and it's not hard to pretty much nail things. The SIXAXIS controls work perfectly, and moving things around with the d-pad couldn't be easier.

7.0Gameplay:

Okay, it's little more than a matching game with the added wrinkle of having the eggs pulled completely out of the playing field. Still, simple doesn't mean bad, and once you figure things out, it's a blast.