Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey is the brainchild of the talented chaps at Grande Games. Recently released on PlayStation 4, this puzzle title utilizes the PlayStation Camera to track your movements and create platforms for your character to use within the game’s levels.
Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey starts off warning you about general health conditions and making sure the camera is plugged in. You can change the camera settings on the main menu, though as much help as this is, the game seems to have trouble picking you up. Wearing dark clothes and playing the game in a dimly lit room will cause a lot of headaches, even after you spend ages fiddling about with the settings. In addition, if there are any miscellaneous objects nearby (and chances are if you live in a small apartment or a flat you will have chairs or tables in the view of the camera) the game will pick those up better than it seems to pick you up. Due to these issues, I found playing the game extremely frustrating and admittedly found it hard to progress.
When things actually did work, the gameplay still manages shines with the platforming being very simple but addictive all the same. The game essentially tasks you collecting red orbs by doing certain challenges using your body as the platforms; admittedly, the game is probably aimed at a different market than me, as even when I move far away from the camera my ample size made doing some of the puzzles a little bit of a challenge. However, I will admit that when I did get the camera working the game was pretty enjoyable—it’s just a shame that actually getting the game to function correctly is such a chore.
As mentioned, wearing dark clothing exacerbates the issues with the sensor, and as laughable as it may sound, I was forced to change into something a little brighter in order to solve the problem. In fact, the issue was so bad that the game didn’t register my lower body as I was wearing dark trousers. Funny, but sadly all too true.
Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey has a solid difficulty curve, though the first level just has getting you used to moving your body to make platforms. Mess up enough times and it’ll give you a double jump power-up. You will also lose points if you keep rebuilding the structures for the platforms, so there’s plenty of replay value if you want to get the best score possible. Early on you will start bumping into these strange looking plant monsters; these creatures will make it impossible for you to pose if your body is touching them so this is when you need to really start to take time and be incredibly accurate with your poses (you’ll be able to destroy them with a laser later on in the game). However, due to the camera issues this is even more of a challenge then it should be. In later levels you also need to do multiple poses to clear large chasms, though fortunately there’s plenty of checkpoints allowing you to take a break when you are feeling tired as this game is physically exhausting.
Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey has some decent graphics with the character models possessing some solid detail. My personal favourite character has to be the adorable Seal, though Commander Cherry himself seems a little small on the screen. On the flip side, the level designs seem very uninspired, with the same textures being recycled throughout the game. Still, overall it’s not a particularly bad looking platformer, even if it could have done with some more variety.
Despite its undeniable charm, I’m still left with no choice but to be pretty harsh on Commander Cherry’s Puzzled Journey. With such a flawed use of the camera, the game felt like it needed a little more time in the oven before it was released. In addition, it’s also pretty short with only nine levels in the game, and while there is some replayability value to be had, the various camera issues meant I had little interest in playing through the game again.