Port of family friendly co-op or single-player puzzle-platformer follows last year’s PC release
Bugs are often icky, ugly, dirty little creatures, but sometimes they can be cute and colourful and fun to play. Fortunately the stars of Skinny Bandit’s puzzle-platformer Mari & Bayu: The Road Home are very much the latter, as Nintendo Switch fans can now discover following the game’s earlier release on PC.
A young ant named Mari is knocked out by a nasty spider as it kidnaps her brother far from home. Luckily she’s saved by a “magical” firefly named Bayu, who’s on his own quest to rescue his entire family. The path ahead will be filled with organic puzzles to solve and dangers for the two tiny insects to overcome, from “deep dark puddles, fly swatters and scorching piles of garbage to monsters that are desperate to get rid of you.” If they’re ever going to make it back home, they’ll need to join forces and cooperate, using the unique skills of each to succeed. In doing so, Mari will gain much-needed confidence in herself, while Bayu finds strength he never knew he had.
Mari & Bayu is a side-scrolling platforming adventure presented in a lovely, vibrant art style. There’s some typical running and jumping, pulling and pushing to do, but you’ll also have the chance to “surf the wind on feathers, ride grasshoppers, interact with fellow insects and use your environment to your advantage by using Bayu’s wind powers.” What makes this game stand out from its contemporaries, however, is that it can be played either solo or with another player in co-op mode. Designed from the ground up (no pun intended) to be family friendly, the role of Bayu is ideally suited to a younger or less experienced partner. Each character is needed to progress, but while Mari “can be hurt by both the environment and enemies,” the camera following her at all times, Bayu “cannot get hurt and is easy to control” as he moves freely around the screen.