Thursday, February 22, 2024

Demo Play Thursday - Promenade On PS4

For this week's Demo Play Thursday i played the PlayStation 4 version of Promenade, developed by  Holy Cap Studios, published by Red Art Games, and also released on PS5 and Switch.

The reaction online to this game has seemed really positive and i was eager to try it out and then this demo was released and i jumped at the opportunity to give it ago. In recent videos i've had some not so great times with platformers due to their difficulty so i went into this demo a little apprehensive and not letting the "cute" visuals make me think it would be an easy game.

It starts by acknowledging it's a demo, but it doesn't lean into to it like some of the great demos we've tried. those games tend to be a bit more personal and sometimes offer some explanation as to what's in the demo. here, there was just a list of 4 stages. i tackled them in the order they're presented and i think that's best. the first stage is a simple tutorial, tho perhaps a little too simple as it tells you what you should do but not how to do it. Like, if our pink friend could say/think the "X" button to jump or "ロ" to throw/pick up that would've saved me some time. 

The second stage seems to be mostly a full level and it was much bigger than i anticipated. here again, i found out from pressing buttons that "△" brings up a book of sorts showing how many collectables we've found. the platforming felt really good and the puzzles were interesting and fun. i enjoyed the "escort mission" that the game never told us to do but because of the environmental story telling i knew i should do it. There were some technical issues with reflections popping in and out and it was a little distracting mostly due to how great the game looks. there's plenty of small animations and little touches that make this level, and all the others i played, feel high quality.

The third stage also fell victim to the lack of a tutorial. it's probable that in Promenade it's explained, but here it wasn't. This level is a race that i never felt like i could even come close to winning. i never quite got the grappling into jumping mechanic. But it also didn't feel impossible. Even tho i didn't come close to the time, the game let me continue the level so it was nice that i could get some practice in.

The final stage was bigger but i also didn't finish it. it introduced new hazards and mechanics that seemed fine. again, there's no tutorial but it's quick to learn what to do. It was the Monkey boss fight where i decided to call it a day. My first attempt was more data gathering than actually trying to beat it. The second attempt was where the biggest bug happened. i could no longer see the bombs the monkey was throwing. i realised i could see their shadow, but it meant that it was impossible so i naturally died. Thankfully, there's a checkpoint right before the boss and it's quick to load. I got further on the third attempt but i couldn't see a way to beat the Monkey Boss. with the demo not offering tutorials, it's difficult to know if i was meant to be doing something or not. an example was that the bombs the monkey threw seemed to explode up more so i could no longer be safe above them. they're thrown so fast, i couldn't see a way to escape the blast zones. So i ended it there.

A great highlight of this demo is the addition of a well made trailer. we get to see many locations, objectives, and that there's more play styles than just the platforming. It's a fine way to show off the game. It's a bit of a shame that the trailer isn't viewable from the main home screen and only found when beating some of the levels.

But as a demo, this works great. i've played it and know that i would be happy to own Promenade. But this isn't the best demo. the bugs are frustrating with the lack of tutorials/instructions an even bigger oversight. But there's enough here for me to say you should try this out and maybe even to say that this demo has showed me that this is probably a decent buy without even needing to play the demo.