Plok is a 1993 side scrolling platformer for the SNES developed by Software Creations and published by Nintendo. It stars a weird red and yellow character named Plok, with the ability to fire his four limbs, as he wakes up one morning to find his flag has been stolen.
The game doesn’t have much of a title screen but what you get is quite nice with an animated Plok playing one of the instruments in his games theme tune (which I like), although people playing for the first time might be too busy distracted at how weird Plok himself actually looks. As for options its merely a difficulty toggle between normal and Child’s Play (which makes the game much easier) before you’re treated to the little story bit at the beginning and head off for the first level.
First impressions of Plok are quite good, graphics are decent (especially with an emulator filter) and the music is nice too. Controls are easy to get used with an attack which fires your limbs one at a time, a normal jump and a bigger spin jump. Its ultimately more complex though cool but temporary powerups inside presents that let you feel overpowered (like what seems like rocket punches). There’s even a life fruit you can find that you keep punching to make it grow and by taking a gamble and making it explode (obviously meaning you can’t collect it) you go to a secret mini level sometimes (although its level based so you could just find out with a walkthrough.
As for bosses they’re good (although I won’t put a screeenshot since they’re isn’t many, they have the same sort of life bar that Plok does and usually just need to be dodged and hit a lot. Honestly the boss designs are really weird but the music is quite memorable especially because of the evil laugh it starts up with. Also for those that want to know Childs Play makes the game easier by making all obstacles (like logs) ‘killable’ and enemies both slower and less health for them (and probably more) so its a nice option if you’re not that good at games.
The island you go to at the start of the game is essentially a tutorial as the second you defeat the boss and get back the gameplay changes a little bit, instead of merely getting to the flag as soon as possible you have to kill all the fleas that have taken over your island which is alright but can be annoying if you miss one as there’s no such thing as a radar in this game. There are some other levels that play simirlarly to the first island though. There’s a lot more thinking needed too, something that appears arae targets you need to hit but when you do it takes away that limb and puts it on a hanger that you need to collect them from. Not having hands makes attacking awkward and not having legs means you can’t jump.
I’ve never really decided if the game was hard or not, on one hand the game can surprise you from the very start with things like fast moving unbreakable logs but on the other hand you seem to get a continue every few levels and can get lives by collecting the shells too (which you can use once you acquire a powerup as part of the story).
Overall I find it quite enjoyable although I doubt you can call it a hidden gem since practically ever Retro Gamer already knows about it, kinda sad Plok never got a sequel or even a legacy as he’d make a great secret character in a Rayman game. Fun Fact: There’s a level you can’t get to in game that’s used for testing powerups and has every single one in the game.