Below Kryll – The Piko Predicament by ArtixBot (12w6)

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Despite its name, The Piko Predicament doesn’t actually have all that much to do with piko plants beyond the fact that they initially block off access to some shurikens and slightly alter the shape of the level. The real star of the show here is the dark effect as it allows players to imagine for themselves what these overgrown ‘diseased plants’ look like while also somewhat hiding a few elements, such as spikes and climbable walls. The sole checkpoint in the level can only be accessed after you dispel the darkness and destroy the piko plants after making it to the shrine at the end. I normally don’t care much for levels which are frugal with their checkpoint distribution, but in this case I think it works out as the level is on the short side and basically consists of two medium-sized fights with a few easy encounters between them (the somewhat difficult jump in the lower-left room can be avoided until after activating the checkpoint).

Both of the encounters have something of a puzzle element to them and are likely to end poorly if you rush in. The first encounter starts with blood bats which need to be picked off with kunai or baited closer and then leads into a fight against a group of ‘bandits’ which are best dealt with by stunning them and picking them off one at a time. The second major encounter is probably the easier of the two and consists of frogs and bees on tiered platforms, which can quickly turn deadly if the bees aren’t taken out. With a design which looks great in shadows and in the light and encounters which encourage careful planning, The Piko Predicament makes for an all-around fun and challenging level.

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