Liquid Sunshine is a Puzzle Adventure-Platformer in which you guide a monkey, a rhino and a horse through challenging puzzles as you discover the roots of their relationship through a full-blown comic book backstory.
The game throws you out on a loop at first, making you think it’s a family-friendly jungle book story with animal characters, but you soon find out that the plot actually takes place in the real world and we’re just playing as three circus employees with a criminal history, who just so happen to have certain animalistic properties.
Each character has their own specific abilities that you’ll need to make good use of to make it through the levels.
- Husk (Monkey) can crouch and shimmy across ropes
- Spooner (Horse) can kick/throw Husk and survive bigger drops
- Tent (Rhino) can lift/move heavy objects
They can also use combination moves when they’re close together, which usually results in them giving each other a boost to get over a high ledge.
It’s all very reminiscent of games like Lost Viking. You’ll need to make sure each character makes it to the next checkpoint and after a few of them, you’ll reach the chapter’s end and will be rewarded with some additional story content, told through very stylish black & white panels. I thought it was a very nice touch that you were able to move them around with the right analog stick, creating a faux-3D effect.
As I mentioned earlier, the story starts off with a deception: you think you’re just stealing some honey from a group of bears and you and your animal friends need to escape. But you’ll soon find out that you were actually tripping on acid in the opening chapter and now the stakes are high and you have to survive as gangsters try to reclaim what you stole from them. And they mean business!
Luckily the levels themselves don’t have any tension in the form of enemies chasing you, so you can take your time when trying to figure out the puzzles. The only real cause of stress is perhaps misjudging how deep a character can jump and having to redo a puzzle all over.
The one thing I did miss was an easy way to zoom out. The camera will sometimes do it for you, giving you a better overview of who’s where and what you should be doing next. But it can be frustrating if you flip a switch or stand on a pressure plate and you don’t know where a door has opened.
The animations of the characters can also look a bit weird at times, but it’s an easy thing to ignore when focussing on the clever puzzle gameplay instead. A little less easy to ignore where the bugs that sometimes got a character stuck in the environment. (EDIT: I was told by the developer that this issue only happened on Xbox and the fix should already be live)
There are nine chapters in total and an average run through the game should take about 3 to 4 hours if you have a keen mind for puzzling. There are also nine hidden gems and one secret level hidden in the game, discovering them will be key to getting the full 1000G achievement score. They can be tricky to find, but overall it was a nice game to complete.
Liquid Sunshine is nice puzzle-platformer with interesting ability-based challenges and a very stylish black & white comic book presentation. It could have used some additional polish when it comes to character animations but the storybook aesthetic makes up for a lot.
Prefer to see the game in action? We’ve got you covered:
*Disclosure: an Xbox One review copy has been prodived by the developer.