Everybody Say AYO!
By Eric, Getty, Gettinger
Hey, let me tell you about my clown friend Ayo. I backed him on kickstarter last year and he has finally been able to come out and play. Ayo the Clown is a 2D adventure platform game that dropped on the Nintendo Switch and Steam. I got my code for the Switch and completely devoured this cute little romp. While Ayo is a rather quick playthrough it houses a lot of hidden items, story, side quests, and a slew of different surprises I was not expecting to see in my time with Ayo The Clown. Not to mention the non-stop clown jokes that the creator wants you to see and experience. Ayo might be the game you are looking for to introduce your children to gaming with its Mario-esque style and storybook artwork.
The reason I was drawn to Ayo The Clown during the Kickstarter campaign was the artwork. The character and levels have such a dynamic and cartoony look to them you feel like the environment comes to life. From the gingerbread men doing push ups, the way you can loft through the air with your balloon, and a fully functional tank Ayo has a lot to offer. So much of the landscape is in motion at any time. I was plain shocked and fell in love with the way the developer used children’s book panels to convey the story of Ayo, who loses his dog and sets out on an adventure to find him. The story book panels are used between zones but also at times during the levels. My favorite panels involve Baby Bear who decides it will be a good idea to play with some bees. This segues into a chase scene where Ayo has a hive on his head and it’s a race to get to the finish line. When you finish the scene you get to see what happens. It’s this kind of dynamic mix that makes me happy to have supported Ayo.
As you move through each level in Ayo you can collect gems and special items that will help to improve your overall rank. The rank has no real bearing over the game but if you are looking to find all the items then it’s for the more speedrun or completionist crowd. You eventually have the ability to spend gems to enhance your balloon size which grants more lift, which is nifty towards the end. There is also a treasure chest that you can find items for by doing side quests for the other characters in the game, again it’s not mandatory, but the side quests are a lot of fun. The platforming can be tricky at times but diligence usually pays off and hidden areas can be located.
In Ayo you will explore a lot of different zones in your search to find your dog and discover the story about what’s going on there. The zones will take you to a town, caves, a factory, and why not the circus. Each of the zones culminates in a boss battle and the last boss is by far the biggest pain. If you do not spend the time to get the extra hearts, which translate to how many attacks you can take, then it might feel hopeless. However, the rest of the levels while challenging are fairly easy. It harkens back to the days of Mario 3 but instead of a racoon or frog outfit you can get a fighter plane or a tank. If you have a young gamer you may want to show them Ayo. especially with the way the art style feels like a children’s picture book it will have some appeal.
I found little to no fault with Ayo. The last boss was needlessly tough but as a culminating factor it did feel good to defeat him. The levels were bright, colorful and constantly changing so there was little monotony. Having Kickstarted Ayo I felt like it was a great reward to sit down and pick away at the game. I would gladly go back in time and support it again if not pay even more as it was a good value for the time I spent discovering Ayo and his journey. Ayo The Clown is highly recommended by this gamer.