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As expected, the escapes and boss battles get much more difficult as the play continues. Encounters with the toxic purple paint-spewing rat early on as well as a mechanical bull and iron horse that transforms into a fire-breathing locomotive will seriously challenge a player’s skills.

However, I never gave up as the game designs are so stunning in their eye-popping glory, being bored is never an option.

In fact, Puppeteer’s design remains consistently  breathtaking at all levels, looking like a rich homage to stop-motion animation. The set pieces and puppets reminded me of artist Dave McKean’s mixed media work on the film “MirrorMask” and Terry Gilliam’s quirky art for Monty Python.

Be it the carved wooden intricacies of a ferocious tiger general, the tossing of ninja bombs by Kutaro that explode like a confetti popper, an almost paper mache like quality of the witch Ezma, the tapping of water-colored cocoons to birth colorful butterflies and a lush forest speckled with H.R. Pufnstuf style creatures, it’s a feast for the peepers at every slightly disturbing turn of events.

Our narrator, Professor Gregorious T. Oswald (or G for short), is very talkative throughout with a Burl Ives charm and propensity to over describe events with the most charming flow of alliteration.

His vocal exercises work marvelously in a set of unlockable picture books that each offers a fully illustrated motion story for the kiddies to watch and listen to.

Additionally, a two-player mode allows one puppeteer to control Kutaro while the other handles his assistant, and it makes for a wonderful time for parent and child to appreciate the game.

With a preponderance of very adult video games hitting the market these days, it’s great to see Sony not afraid to dive into the Mario Bros. and Rayman’s worlds with the imaginative Puppeteer.

Any member of the family will not soon forget this whimsical, impeccably designed experience. This game demands a standing ovation.