Top Critic Average
Poi does nothing to move its genre forward and even though its wanting for polish in many areas, its faults are small enough that they will likely prove little more than minor annoyances for those looking to kill some time after they complete Mario's latest.
Most of the challenges, enemies, and boss fights, have direct parallels in one 3D Mario game or another. Outside of some unique takes on progression you'll rarely find anything that feels entirely new in Poi. When all's said and done Poi is a very well executed clone. It is fun and charming, but feels like something I've played before.
Most modern 3D Platformers like to add in their own special features and inspirations to help show off it's individuality versus your average Mario game. Poi, however, doesn't. But the real question is, despite this special lack of individuality, is Poi at least a decent Mario clone? Yes! The game plays quite well, doesn't bother you with any complicated story, and is extremely simple to pick up and put down which is perfect for a portable game. Despite looking rather old, and having a less-than-satisfactory soundtrack, Poi is one of those games that's perfect for just a quick, no thought needed gaming session.
As you continue to cross off Explorer Medallions in your Explorer Book, it’s hard not to come to the realisation that Poi: Explorer Edition is a great introductory platformer for those that are new to the genre. This grand adventure may never achieve the dizzying wonder of the early 3D Mario games that it looks to for inspiration, but PolyKid has built a solid enough experience that stands on its own merits – even if the simplistic presentation and sound design needed a little more imagination.
Poi, gripping with nostalgia, delivers standard 3D platforming in a adorable and relaxing way, putting nothing between you and the thrill of exploration, but this resolve to keep the game simple and to the point leaves it lacking in content. It's a fantastic way to unwind, though not much else. The exclusive content to the Explorer Edition adds little to the experience, and you're better off purchasing the title on Steam or another console, unless you want to pay the premium to have the option of mobility. A charming presentation coupled with dull interaction leaves this specific product mediocre.
Devoid of both style and substance, Poi is perhaps the least interesting 3D platformer currently available for the Nintendo Switch. Not only is it mechanically shallow with a relatively skill ceiling and floor, the level design rarely, if ever, gets creative enough to mask how lacklustre the platforming can be. To make matters worse, this is just charmless all around thanks to an incredibly safe aesthetic that renders a potentially fascinating world completely unmemorable. This neither reinvents platforming, nor serves as a suitable love letter to the genre, ensuring it is best left forgotten.