Penny’s Big Breakaway


Penny’s Big Breakaway is a 3D platform game developed by Evening Star, a team led by Christian Whitehead, who previously worked on the incredible Sonic Mania, whose influence can be immediately seen in this game. Sadly, good 3D platform games are very rare nowadays and not many developers decide to make them, except for Nintendo who proves to be always successful in this field. Being a new IP, the story of PBB is pretty simple and doesn’t get much attention. The game is set in the colorful and dreamlike world of Macaroon in which you play as Penny, a street performer who participates with her magical sentient Yo-Yo in the auditions for a talent show hosted by the mighty Emperor Eddie. After Yo-Yo makes the Emperor furious by stealing his clothes, Penny and her friend are forced to escape while being pursued by the Emperor’s penguin guards. This is where your adventure begins, as you explore multiple levels that play like old platform games (Sonic and Super Mario 64, particularly). Each level is tied around a scoring mechanic, influenced by the time of completion and how many points you received from performing combos. Additionally, you can also find hidden collectibles and side quests to complete. The length of each map is variable, ranging from 2 to 10 minutes, depending on your speed and how much you focus on the optional content. Levels are meant to be replayed multiple times, either because you missed something or simply because you want to get a better score and record time.

The main gameplay mechanics are tied to the use of Penny’s yo-yo, in a similar way to Mario using his hat in Super Mario Odyssey. You can throw the yo-yo in any direction with the simple use of your right analog stick (if you are using a controller, which is heavily recommended for a game like this). It takes some time to get used to movements and the learning curve is steep, but you will gradually learn to move fast, run, double jump, air dash and even ride your own yo-yo to increase your speed. Penny’s controls can feel a bit clunky and weird at first, but once you learn how to link them together the whole experience becomes smoother and funnier. Combat is only a minor aspect of the gameplay, and probably the least developed. Penguin guards are your main enemies, they are not really dangerous but you lose a life when five on them cling to you, so you constantly need to shake them off. The best thing would be to avoid them completely, as they can also interrupt your combo, potentially ruining your score. The game also includes few boss fights, which honestly aren’t really that interesting. You can’t control the camera in this game and while this isn’t really a problem during normal gameplay, I find that some boss fights are pretty much broken due to poor camera placement and hit detection not working as intended.

The level design is beautiful and it’s filled with obstacles and very cool environmental puzzles that will make you think and, most importantly, use your platforming skills to solve them. The main path is always indicated by the color palette, but you are encouraged to use your momentum and reach optional areas to get hidden collectibles or to stop for talking and accepting side quest from friendly characters. The progression always feels great in each level and there is never a dull moment. While the performance on PC is nearly perfect, there are still a couple of bugs and glitches (like occasionally clipping through walls), and they can have some sort of impact on the experience, but nothing that cannot be fixed with a few patches I believe.

If you are dreaming about Nintendo 3D platform games on PC…well, keep dreaming; but if you are looking for a solid alternative, Penny’s Big Breakaway can offer a really fun experience. Although not as perfect as I was hoping, the game perfectly captures the spirit of old platform games, which isn’t an easy task. Unfortunately, there are still some bugs and glitches, and boss fights could be better, but for a new IP this is really promising and I hope the team will keep improving the game further.

Review written by Sonic Punk for

Penny’s Big Breakaway Steam Store page


+ Addictive 3D platform game with great progression
+ Varied, colorful and well-designed levels
+ Fun and smooth movements


- Broken and disappointing boss fights
- Bugs and glitches are still present

Review Summary

Despite some technical issues, Penny’s Big Breakaway is an addictive game that can offer a really fun old-school platforming experience.

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Zeepond Rating: 7/10