Many games claim to be co-op games but are they really designed like it from the ground up? Not many can claim to be so tied to co-op gaming as Perfect Partner. Think Fall Guys, but every minigame is based around 2 player co-operation to complete. As a result the games require a little bit more skill and commitment than Fall Guys, but the rewards are just as good, if not better, when things go to plan and you win.
Each player is a penguin that can be customised using in game currency won by playing the game. Perfect Partner has a good balance between currency and buying cosmetics. If you come last in 3-4 games online, you’ll still earn enough to buy the smallest clothing or accessory. It’ll take 10 games to earn a whole costume. Once you have your penguin at the ready, you and a local mate if you’ve got one, can join the online servers to kick off some gaming. Each lobby is customised by the host and can hold four teams of two players. Odd numbered lobbies can’t go live so expect to be booted from lobbies if you are by yourself. It happened to me repeatedly as players were largely impatient to start a game.
Minigames are all built around co-operation. There are obstacle courses based around water park rides that require players to pick up and throw their partner over gaps. Once thrown over, the other player can grapple hook the other one across the gap. Sometimes its easier to carry another player than have both of you jumping around but the courses are designed in a way that adds increasing complexity as you progress. Also fun is the fact that whilst all four teams can start separately, paths merge and sometimes pushing other teams in the water or grapple hooking them off a platform is just as effective as playing it cleanly. The zorbing race lets you bash other players off the course too like a multiplayer Super Monkey Ball game.
Elsewhere the painter game places two of you on a tilting painting board to colour simple shapes, requiring you to both run around or push the brush to the right places. The calculator game gives you a sum and then asks both players to jump on the numbers to complete it. There are also variations on brawler games too. One has a decreasing cube where you can sumo bash other players off. Another has you working together to grab furniture from a pile in the middle of the floor and bring it back to your home. I also enjoyed the Mahjong game where players uncover various tiles then have to find matching pairs and bring them together for points.
Other games are based around protect your own and attack others. You’ve got a mini game asking you to collect chicks to place in a circle whilst your partner protects you or steals your opponents. Another has an electric beam straddle between you and your partner. As you collect batteries for points, you’ll also be aiming to zap other players with your electric beam between you to make them drop batteries and steal them. Another is a take on basketball where you can lift and throw your partner to get a high score slam dunk or jump and block other players’ moves. ‘Another ‘Spin Race’ has two players spinning on a rotating bar pressing where to switch to the next player to be the central screw to spin. As everyone is playing on the same field you end up bumping into other players and causing them problems. As you can read, there are lots of minigames and they are all really well thought out.
You can play these minigames on their own in single matches or play them in a tournament. You can also use them in a raft race which has each player in a team controlling one paddle in a raft as you race through a water park. After each minigame, the speeds of the boats are adjusted to match the positions of the minigame. It does a great job of holding everything together. If you are low on players, there is a 1v1 magic battle too but really Perfect Partner works best with 4 – 8 players in a lobby.
Playing Perfect Partner is a blast. It brings the very best of co-op gaming to the fore with excellent minigame design. My minor gripes come from its slightly fuzzy controls. I have a tiny bit of drift on my Xbox controllers and Perfect Partner sends my penguin running off in all directions. You’ll also have some input lag due to online connections often having upwards of 200m/s ping. This may be because I seemed to be the only European player in every game I’ve played. Perfect Partner is a predominantly Chinese player base and so I recommend using their discord or buying the game as a group to play to reduce ping.
For the price point, Perfect Partner is a superb game. You’ll need friends to get the best out of it as there is no offline or single player / local mode to speak of. Know that going in and you’ll have a great time.
Review copy provided by publisher.
A surprisingly well designed co-op Fall Guys variant that requires real team work to win. Funny, good hearted fun that doesn't milk you dry with microtransactions either.
Almost every minigame requires real cooperation to succeed, making it a unique party game experience.
Variety of minigames feel unique, fresh and fun.
Lots of cosmetics that are easily purchasable by just enjoying the game.
Nails the party game vibe perfectly.
Controls are a bit fuzzy, which causes problems as the minigames get harder and harder the further you progress.
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