Ayo the Clown is a platformer built on the stronger foundations of the genre that is both adorable and charming. While it is a very competently built game that aims to send everyone home happy there are a few small instances where it trips itself up over its own ambitions.
Graphically the team behind the game made a decision to go with a very simplistic art style that allows for the highlighting of bold characters and colorful designs rather than a focus on technical prowess. The use of 3D assets on flat backgrounds while having them scroll at slightly different speeds adds a great feeling of depth to what is already a very creative, imaginative world. Since the game doesn’t take on a serious subject matter, there is a lot of freedom to explore different visual locations, NPCs and even power ups.
The charm really comes from all of the little touches that could be missed or unappreciated if you just observe from a far. When you reach a checkpoint within a level for example, a hand will reach out and slap a pie in the clowns face. It’s almost expected from these kid friendly games at this point but there does not have to be a face on an anchor in the pier level and I can’t imagine any other time where the hero in a game wears a boot upside down on their body, that also has a face on it, that naturally sprays fire.
This is a game about a clown on an adventure to rescue his dog. That’s it, not much more to read into it than that and there doesn’t need to be. The player only really needs to know that they are to run and jump from the left side of the level to the right all while doing random things such as using swaying mushrooms as platforms, stopping on floating fishes and of course grabbing gems all throughout. In regards to the story, the very boldly cell shaded still shots used as a sort of cut scene are wonderfully animated.
The game provides a very nice arsenal of abilities to be used in the adventure. As you progress you will unlock tried and true maneuvers such as slides and wall jumps at very nicely spaced out intervals. Of course when you unlock one, you can anticipate using it for a series of puzzles and obstacles for the levels that immediately follow. The only odd choice was making the basic jump be something that you have to unlock rather being granted from the beginning; at least it is only a level and a half away.
The bit of tripping up that the game does that was referred to earlier comes from all of the different mechanics in it. There are auto scrolling levels, levels where you fly a helicopter almost like a shooter, and even levels where you drive around in a tank where you have to manually aim the cannon. When you spread yourself so thin, it’s not surprising to make little mistakes. Perhaps by removing the needless fishing mini game there could have been extra time to tighten up the controls on the wall jumps, which are awful, perhaps some of the worst I can recall. The controls beyond the wall jump are fine by the way. The saving grace is that since the run time is about 8 hours and there is such a variety, if there are some that you do not enjoy, they usually don’t last long enough to really hurt your experience.
The key word when it comes to Ayo the Clown is fun. It is a respectable length for a low price that can be enjoyed by all ages. There are even 3 difficulty settings so that the experience can be a bit more fine-tuned depending on the audience. If a gamer enjoys side scrolling platformers and does not suffer a fear of clowns, this is an easy recommendation.