According to Japanese folklore, the Tanuki possesses shape-shifting powers. They sure love this little creature... it serves as a good luck symbol to our friends from the far East. You can find them in shops and Japanese gardens, all sorts of places. They're almost as frequent as the Maneki Neko (The cat with the paw raised for good fortune)
Tanuki by the way translates to "Raccoon Dog"
And here comes a game from the Land of the Rising Sun that will appeal to all Tanuki lovers...
This sucker had me hunting for some time. A friend told me in October 2006 that Poko Nyan! is even harder to find than Rendering Ranger(!). Don't know how accurate that claim is, but I trust his word. About a week later I found one CIB for just $50, a collector I know paid $150 for his not too long ago!
Gleaning from the box art, you probably could guess the genre... yes, platformer, thank you, you in the back
Ever since I saw this in EGM #66 Jan. '95, I've been curious about it... the look of the game I always felt was right up my alley
EGM wasn't kidding -- how very easy this game is. You can't die! The timer running out doesn't end gameplay, nor does any amount of hits from the bad guys. Being a popular anime with young children, this game was created with them in mind. A four-year-old could beat this! The game has 15 levels and can be finished in 40 minutes, even sooner if you rush straight for the exit
Doing his best Sonic impersonation
Not sounding good, eh?
But wait -- what's this? The game's a RIOT?! Yes, it is. Poko (I think that's his name) is such a likable chap, much like Rascal. The various stages are beautiful, likewise for the set-pieces and even the enemies themselves are cute. Just take one look at the wild boar who, before charging, has a silly exclamation mark bubble pop over his head
The set-pieces are awesome not just because of how they look but also how they come into play. Some have several platforms Poko can hop on, or hop down from. Down + jump makes Poko drop to the platform below. This becomes oddly fascinating in and of itself, as it's fun to knock off baddies from above. May not sound all that great, but you'd be surprised
Some other cool ones:
Reminiscent of SNES Lion King
Looking a little sick there buddy
WHAT? I'm number one? Thanks...
These little things add a lot to the game's charm
And staying true to Japanese folklore, this Tanuki has plenty of shape-shifting prowess!
(All forms can double jump by the way, including Poko)
By pressing R, Poko changes into a high-jumping kangaroo
Up + R? This bird with unlimited flight!
Down + R? This little runt!
... Who can do this rolling offensive manuever on the lesser baddies
You can switch to any form at any time. There are no limits. You can switch back to Poko by pressing R again. You're also switched back if hit by a baddie. The different transformations adds a lot of flavor to the game
The 15 levels are spread over 5 different "worlds" each guarded by one of 5 nasty foxes. These boss battles, like the rest of the game, are a cinch. The later bosses have some cool powers though
While the game is short, the key is to explore the levels rather than rushing to the end. There is also a point score where bouncing off consecutive baddies allots major points, so at least there's a point system
Let's check out some random action...
Those arrows will send Poko soaring through the grapes
This groovy roller coaster multi-tier stage is one of my faves... it's a lot of fun to mess around with. There are so many different levels to jump off and on... good stuff
Check out the whale in the background. The big puffy clouds are pretty cool, too. I love the art style of Poko Nyan! It's just gorgeous
Platforming rule #162: Must have water stage
Rule #163: Don't forget the ice too
More Northern Lights in SFC games! I'm not complaining though, I love starry nights and Northern Lights in my games! They'll always be welcomed in my book
BY THE POWER OF GRAYSKULL!
And right on cue -- starry night setting! Ace! This is another one of my favorite levels... I love how Poko can hop on just about anything, including those star pieces... it's all kind of... almost dreamy... game has a sweet and unique atmosphere for sure
Simple though it may be, it's deceptively fun
Poko Nyan! won't light your world on fire, but it's very charming and enjoyable. Scrolling is a bit herky jerky at times, but not bothersome enough to deduct from the game. It's perfect for kids, and a treat for anyone who's still a kid-at-heart