Pick your Poison

Poison Control is a single-player RPG Shooter where you take control of a silent protagonist who has been seized by a Klesha. While most of these creatures known as Klesha remain hostile, Poisonette pretty much speaks for your main character to the point I completely forgot about the character that I did pick. Poison Control takes place in small worlds which are the minds of people who have turned sour due to being overwhelming by their emotions. The whole premise of Poison Control is one that I really enjoy the sound of but after playing it was apparent that it did suffer some major drawbacks. 

The game’s design is good but nothing to shout about, the game is very Pink so be expecting to see that colour a lot. The colour scheme is fine but doesn’t really change much and neither does the gameplay. Gameplay consists of running around areas and clearing them of any Klesha by neutralising poisonous pools on the ground by running around them or shooting them with various bullets. You can then collect coins and treasure chests that appear that can give you more bullets or Hit Points. It’s a system I like but the problem in Poison Control is that it doesn’t feel well implemented. The control and aiming with your character is fine but your character feels too slow at times and when overwhelmed by enemies drawing a pattern around them can leave you vulnerable to attack which leaves me the option to just shooting which is fine until I run out of bullets and then only leaves me the default bullets which isn’t a lot and once those run out you have to wait ten or so seconds to replenish and where’s the fun in that? The other problem is the Poisonous Mire itself. While it is everywhere I find it impossible to hit enemies with it as I said they can attack you when you are most vulnerable, also it doesn’t seem to work on the flying enemies, whether it is supposed to or not who knows? The game doesn’t really explain these things. There are events that pop up both in the mind worlds and outside of them.

The game’s story is filled with your typical innuendos, tropes and Japanese culture while throwing in Easter eggs from other games such as Disgaea. This is all fine and expected but I found it really hard to make sense of what’s going on sometimes as two characters argue over something so silly it just wasn’t even worth the time to read. There are also some dialogue options also which will increase one of a few social stats depending on what you pick. While Poison Controls story soon became flat for me I was hoping that gameplay would redeem itself but sadly after hours into the game it really does not. The level designs really don’t change that often. Clear one area of poison and Klesha and then go to the next to do the same while shooting, waiting to shoot and repeat. Areas are dull and uninspiring. The backgrounds seem to have more going on than anything else, but where you are able to explore is filled with walls, statues or impregnable blocks. My favourite level was the one with the giant Prinnies from Disgaea, it was nice to get away from the overly abundant pink colour scheme and listen to a really cool soundtrack which this world delivered, although the actual level was super annoying as it had a lot of enemies that felt like a slog to get through. Breaking an enemies defences will render them vulnerable and cause them to sit on their ass while you can finish them off. Just make sure you have ammo to do so, if not take advantage of the short respite whilst waiting for your short supply of ammo to replenish. I found myself doing this a lot!

The game allows you to use different loadouts that you can use and there is some incentive to check all corners of a world but not much else outside of that. There really isn’t much depth to Poison Control which is a shame because it’s something the game really does need. What Poison Control does well is the soundtrack. I find myself amazed at some of the tracks in the game, when the gameplay didn’t really leave me wanting more it ended up feeling more like a visual novel and not a good one. Maybe I just didn’t understand the tropes or I just failed to see the point they put across due to the game being in Japanese audio and not understanding the feelings of the characters themselves. The game does deal with some dark themes which is both expected and unexpected especially after a lengthy dialogue with female characters being way too friendly with each other. This game is set in hell though so I imagine the fun in Poison Control is you never know what will happen next, but sadly I have yet to see anything worthwhile still, even after a good chunk of the game.

For me, Poison Control is an average game that offers small chunks of gameplay and cutscenes that can be played over time satisfying the average consumer without a lot of time on their hands. While this isn’t a bad thing the game’s story for me is without merit. While the game has some interesting mechanics there really is just not enough and the ones that we do have, are just not executed well at all.

A PlayStation 4 Review Code was provided by NIS America