This title was released on 5th December 2016 but with the busy release schedule of 2017 it didn’t find its way into my collection until recently. While receiving generally good reviews, a number of issues were raised, mainly with the game controls and the AI so I’ll cover those areas in this review and see if any improvements have been made in the year since its release.

For those who missed this title when it released this is an action-adventure game which revolves around puzzle solving to advance. You play a small boy who accompanied by a giant bird-cat creature, Trico, has to navigate his way through a city of ancient ruins. Combat is very limited as you play a character with effectively no offense capability other than to either avoid detection or to lead enemies to their demise, by way of your giant feathery friend. I, actually, find this refreshing. It’s rare to be left in a game with only your own intelligence as a weapon.

The puzzles, while not difficult to solve, did get a little frustrating at times. Mainly, due to very specific yet not specified requirements. The start where you have to feed Trico barrels was the biggest frustration, for me, as he refused to eat the barrels unless the barrel was placed in an exact location which wasn’t marked.  Placing it anywhere else within easy reach of his mouth just didn’t seem to be acceptable.  However, I did find this less of an issue over time, and most of the time I found the Trico did what I asked at first request. While the puzzles aren’t difficult, they did feel varied enough to me to avoid a feeling of repetition and the first time you’re forced to lure enemies back to Trico for a swift dispatch was deeply satisfying and the need to pet and console the great beast after every encounter is a great way to deepen the bond between the player and Trico.

My bond with Trico grew rather quickly through the first couple of hours and he does behave vary animal like. When left to his own devices he shows a natural curiosity and sense of play. I love the way he sticks his head through doorways, clearly too small for his bulk, whenever I walked through one where there was no larger access. The high pitched pining sound that he would then let out when he found couldn’t follow tore at my heart every time. Without a doubt, the most powerful moments of the game play on the bond developed between the player and Trico. Throughout the game, I certainly developed a stronger bond with Trico than any AI character in any other game to date, and I’ve grown quite attached to some of those.

The environments are also very well designed in this game. Similar to games like Dark Souls, the route you take criss-crosses and you do find yourself revisiting previous areas only to then take a different route out. When outside, you can see where you’ve been and trace your route back across the ruins. Being able to see how far you’ve come does give you a certain sense of achievement. Some of the internal areas do begin to look a little samey, and the navigation does feel a little restrictive in those areas too, with the puzzles generally relating to pulling switches or getting your feathery buddy to put his paws up in a certain place.

Outside is where things get more interesting with falling bridges and giant glass eyes that need to be destroyed by traversing some very tricky, high-wire routes. Unfortunately, this is also where one of the biggest flaws in the game makes its presence most know which is the control system. The controls in the game feel very floaty and imprecise. This is mostly noticeable when climbing as it’s very hard to get the boy to turn in a certain direction when on a rope or even on Trico. I got stuck on my feathery friend a vast number of times. While trying to get off, I just ended up climbing round and round him, even ending up in some very compromising places. Luckily Trico seems to be house trained. There was one particularly frustrating section where you had to push a moving chain off a ledge and then climb up, turn, and back jump off onto a platform before it swung back that the controls made very difficult. In fact, much of the difficult level of the game isn’t power by the puzzles of the environments but by the floaty controls. I, actually, found that Trico did what I wanted far more often than the boy did. He frequently leapt to his death after refusing to jump in a particular direction.

However, despite the issues with the controls, I still enjoyed my adventure with Trico. The storyline is touching and watching the bond develop between the boy and Trico is heart-warming. It’s a well-designed game which despite its frustratingly imprecise control system is still a joy to play. If you enjoy puzzle solving, exploration and cute feathery beasts then this is the game for you.