The Plucky Squire’s Story Hooked Me Just As Much As Its Gameplay

As a lifelong fan of platformers, The Plucky Squire has sat atop my most-anticipated games list ever since its reveal. I’d have been interested if it was just a simple side-scroller with a cheery storybook aesthetic, but the central mechanic of jumping between a world made up of James Turner’s stunning 2D art and a claymation style 3D land is one that’s blown my mind every time that I’ve seen it.



Things have been quiet on the Plucky front following that first trailer, which has only made me more desperate to see what other tricks it has up its sleeve and all the inventive ways it could use its page-hopping gameplay. The recent delay into 2024 might have made that wait a little longer, but I thankfully had the chance to see how the game is shaping up at Gamescom via a hands-off demo.

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After seeing around half an hour of new footage, I’m happy to report that The Plucky Squire continues to look like a charming breath of fresh air for the platformer genre, and one that I’m still counting down the days for. That didn’t surprise me too much, considering how into it I’ve been from the start, but what did surprise me is how intriguing its narrative is, which follows storybook characters having an existential crisis and trying to reshape their roles.

the plucky squire

The demo I saw seemed to take place a few hours into the game, when protagonist Jot has already figured out some of his page-hopping powers, which are a joy to watch and embarrassingly managed to make me gasp aloud. One section of the demo saw Jot collecting words in the environment to change a huge frog blocking his path by altering its descriptor from huge to tiny, while another had him collecting an item he needed from an earlier location by jumping out of the book and turning its pages.

The most impressive moment of the demo came towards the end when Jot jumped out of the book in search of a long-range weapon. After travelling up the desk with some simple yet creative, 3D platforming, Jot talked to a card resembling a druid from Magic: The Gathering, before jumping into it and engaging in a turn-based battle to earn a bow and arrow from her.

From what I’ve seen of The Plucky Squire, it’s shaping up to be one of the most varied and creative platformers ever, with each new page and encounter offering a unique challenge or experience for the player. Even outside of these reality-bending moments, its Zelda-esque combat and colourful platforming never failed to make me smile, leaving me grinning ear to ear like the Chesire Cat for most of the demo.

Jot in the 3D world in The Plucky Squire.

As impressive as its gameplay and visuals look, they weren’t what stuck with me the most about The Plucky Squire. Instead, it was the teases of a story about identity that really surprised me, as it hasn’t really been talked about so far. At several points during Jot’s adventures in the swamp, Thrash and Violet talked about them being characters in a book and how it messes with their heads, especially as they appear to be the sidekicks in someone else’s story and not the protagonists of their own.

Devolver Digital producer Adoné Kitching, who walked me through the demo, explained that Jot’s new powers, which came from the villainous Humgrump kicking him out of the book, have essentially given Thrash and Violet an existential crisis about their role in the world. They’re now determined to control their own narrative and become heroes outside of the book.

Characters within a fake world questioning their identities isn’t anything new, but it wasn’t something I was expecting to see in The Plucky Squire. With how little the story has been talked about so far and the fact that its main villain is called Humgrump, I assumed the plot would be simplistic and more in the background to let its creative gameplay shine, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. I guess I shouldn’t have judged a book by its cover.

Jot shooting a bow and arrow in The Plucky Squire.

I think I’ve made it clear that I’m sold on The Plucky Squire, something that the demo I saw only served to emphasize, but I can’t believe just how much it’s successfully juggling. If its beautiful design, inventive gameplay, and surprisingly interesting narrative manage to live up to expectations, The Plucky Squire could be one of 2024’s best games. It is definitely something platforming fans need to keep a close eye on.

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