Promenade the happy lead character

Promenade Review

Game: Promenade
Genre: Action, Platformer
System: Nintendo Switch (also on Steam (Windows), PS4 and Xbox)
Developer|Publisher: Holy Cap Studio | Red Art Games
Age Rating: EU 7+ | US Everyone
Price: US $24.99 | UK £22.49 | EU €24,99
Release Date: February 23rd, 2024

Review code provided with many thanks to Red Art Games.

Promenade is a charming platformer that takes a lot of inspiration from the collect-a-thon 3D platformers back in the retro days. Only here, it successfully adapts it to the 2D realm. If its additive collectable gameplay doesn’t draw you in, then maybe its adorable graphical design will.

A Boy and His Squid

You are an unusual duo. A little boy with a bunny-eared hoodie accompanied by a small but very useful octopus/squid. I guess Banjo Kazooie came to mind since the creature hung out of the boy’s backpack. Although the characters in this game do not feature irritating voices. The game is silent in its narrative, but you soon learn an evil sorcerer (which seems to be becoming a familiar theme in video games recently) has broken the great elevator, and it’s up to you two to collect the cog pieces and fix it up. It’s all kept very simple and to the point, barely interfering with gameplay.

Promenade has a delightful cartoon art style to its design. Sprites and enemies all look like they would feel right at home in some adorable cartoon show. The whole experience oozes this positive charm and childlike innocence. Levels range from exploring sandy beaches to the cosmos of space itself, often feeling like something dreamt up by an innocent mind. The positive vibes are further amplified by an upbeat soundtrack. When you collect a cog a chirpy tune fires off which becomes just as addictive as finding the collectibles themselves.

Promenade crab boss
No need to be crabby

Find The Cogs

The gameplay is quite varied for a platformer. The emphasis is on exploration and platforming. When you enter the level, you are given the freedom to explore and seek out the cogs. Sometimes, this will be defeating a mini-boss, scaling a challenging platform segment or solving a system of puzzles. You can keep track of your collecting endeavours by finding a piece of paper at each level, which literally ticks off each cog you find. This checklist system adds further to the draw to keep exploring. The real joy for me when playing was just roaming around levels and seeing what I would come across.

One of my favourite puzzles in the game was putting together a small stone puzzle, then entering a portal and walking through said puzzle to reach a secret area. Another favourite was the little mini-games you can play in arcades that pay homage to arcade classics. Promenade has a lot of variety in its gameplay, but not everything worked for me. There was a particularly dull stealth segment that went on far longer than it needed. Some of the timed platforming challenges were not quite my cup of tea either. Though I felt these were small niggles. Each niggle was more than compensated by many joyful moments.

Get Yourself Hooked

Controls are that of a typical 2D platformer. The unique hook in this game is the ability to throw your squid pal about. The creature is able to latch onto hooks to pull you up, he can even grab enemies which you can lift above your head and throw or bounce on top of to reach higher places. This design reminded me of the Klonoa series, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen mimicked since.

New moves and mechanics are introduced regularly. When this happens, the game will proceed with an active tutorial to help you become accustomed to it. Before you know it, you’re combining the hook abilities and leaping around the levels at a satisfying speed. I did find controls to be a bit fiddly in the tougher platforming challenges. There is a pretty hard section near the end of Promenade where you’re scaling a mountain, and if you don’t hook on to the right spot or jump in the right way, it leads you to fall back to the base to start the slog again.

Promenade cog collected
Shine, I mean cog, get


The difficulty of Promenade starts off very casual. But that curve does build through the experience. Some of the platforming towards the later end of the game is pretty brutal. Fortunately, for casual players, you don’t need to collect everything to proceed to the next level. Players who like to 100% a game may welcome the challenge to find absolutely everything, even if it does get pretty stressful in the process.

On the base difficulty, I was generally quite happy with things. If you fall into a pit, you simply respawn at the last platform with no penalty. You only lose heart pieces if hitting a hazard or getting attacked by enemies. If you do fail, checkpoints are pretty frequent. It’s possible the boss fights may be a bit rough for some players, if this is the case accessibility features have been added. One useful one adding health to your character after a set time. I like this since it does not simply turn on invincibility and still adds a level of challenge to keep the player engaged.

Promenade Stealth section
This mole has surprisingly good vision.

Conclusion: Let The Good Vibes Roll

Promenade successfully recaptures that additive collectable gameplay in 2D form. Once I started collecting, I just found I couldn’t stop. The game may borrow ideas from other platformers. I feel it certainly adds enough personality to stand on its own. This is thanks to varied level design and its charming graphical design. Promenade falls a little short in some areas.

Controls can be unforgiving in some of the tougher platform segments, and some of the ideas introduced in the game, like stealth, don’t always click. But despite these flaws, I found myself eager to explore the levels, finding as many cogs as I could. I highly recommend Promenade to any platforming fan or those looking for a positive gaming experience.

Final Verdict: I Like it a Lot

I like it a lot

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