A tie-in to a popular TV show for pre-schoolers, Pocoyo Party was just released for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4. We tried out the PS4 version on a PS5, with which it’s also compatible.
You might not be familiar with Pocoyo yet, but the originally Spanish-developed show is available on over 150 television channels and its Youtube channel received a staggering 5.5 billion views last year alone. It’s a massive success for the 3-to-5 demographic, and although earlier videogame adaptations for the Wii and DS never saw the light of day this one is actually a title worth checking out.
Part of that is that it caters to the same audience as the TV show. We cover a lot of family-friendly titles and publishers like Outright have a great catalogue of them, but games like Crayola Scoot, Ice Age of even Paw Patrol are still too difficult for most 3 or 4 year olds, who haven’t yet mastered controlling a thumbstick with one hand and pushing buttons with the other.
The control scheme for Pocoyo Party is diverse (across its six different minigames), but never complicated. The thumbsticks aren’t really used outside of menus, and the only button that’s ever required in the minigames is the X. In many games, a core mechanic is moving the gamepad in a certain direction, which to youngsters is quite intuitive – though watching them play makes you wish they had wriststraps for the DualShock and DualSense. Playing myself, I also had a few cases where I felt the gyroscope controls weren’t as responsive as I would have liked, but this didn’t seem to bother the little ones at all.
There’s a simple narrative about invitations that went missing to tie all the minigames together, but Pocoyo Party is mostly just a collection of simple minigames where children are rewarded with stickers and said invitations after playing. Minigames range from dancing, window washing and fishing (all done with gyroscope movements), to racing (which essentially works like a toy car racing track), photography (press x to shoot!) and shape picking. They’re all easy to understand and play, and suit the target demographic.
There’s a nice amount of padding to the content as well, because on top of the game-specific narrative you also unlock stickers and full Pocoyo episodes by playing, which is nice for fans of the show as well as an option to take a short break from playing (and almost flinging the gamepad into a wall out of sheer excitement). With a lot of narrated content, Pocoyo Party is educational both on its minigames and through its short stories, which will often try to instill basic values like friendship and cooperation in viewers.
What’s also nice is that Pocoyo Party supports local multiplayer. All games support a mode for two players, with a few of them also suited to three or four players at once. If you have more than one child in the age group you’re good, and if you want to join in as parents you can do that as well.
Pocoyo Party’s greatest strength is probably also its greatest weakness – it’s designed with a VERY specific target group in mind. If you’re older and ready for simple platformers or something like that, you’ll find the games to be too simple and unfulfilling. If the PlayStation’s console of choice, however, then there is very little out there if you have a little 3-5 year old running around. For that group, this one’s a total success.