Promenade is a puzzle platformer for the Nintendo Switch. It couples cute aesthetics with exploratory elements in a tricky outing that belies its cartoony appearance. It all adds to a fun and satisfying experience.

You play the role of a young boy named Nemo. After falling into a dark cavern, Nemo is rescued by an adorable, pink octopus. The two become friends and set up camp, playing and bonding before embarking on an epic quest together.

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The pair discovers a Great Elevator that connects different worlds. An evil entity appears, shrouded in purple smoke, and steals the golden cogs required to run the elevator. Our adventurous duo sets off to find the missing cogs by solving puzzles, defeating enemies, and platforming their way across the colorful landscape.

Each world has its own theme, from a beach to outer space. The variety is refreshing, with each new area ripe for exploration. There’s a strong incentive to see what’s up ahead, or where this path leads.  Along the way are various creative puzzles featuring everything from helping a pair of snails reunite to copying a landscape onto a canvas with splotches of paint. Each and every puzzle is a fun experience, with some proving to be quite tricky. Solving puzzles and collecting cogs allows the elevator to move onto the next world. 

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One of the standout features of Promenade is its clean, cartoony look. There’s a simplicity that presents a child-like approach to the layout. This innocence is further exemplified by a lack of on-screen text. It’s clear that you’re in a child’s world. This also adds to the feeling of exploration. What does that signpost mean? How do I reach that item? There are times of trial and error that result in a feeling of satisfaction and many “aha!” moments. It can also lead to frustration—particularly in the beginning—when working out what to do isn’t entirely clear. 

If you’re a fan of platforming, Promenade has you covered. Running, jumping, and using special techniques to traverse large gaps or scale vertical platforms are all par for the course. Your squishy octo-pal serves as a tool, allowing you to enhance jumps, attack enemies, and more. Unlocking extra abilities along the way keeps things feeling fresh. It also opens up previously inaccessible areas.

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Any tricky sections are balanced with a gentle approach to Nemo’s health. Nemo has infinite lives, meaning retrying is always an option. He also sports five hearts, losing one each time he hits an enemy. These are replenished when you find a cog or take a nap at one of the pillow forts scattered about the place. Losing all your hearts forces you to respawn somewhere close by. Thankfully, your previously acquired cogs are still safely in tow. I enjoyed this relaxed style of gameplay; it leaves the challenges with the puzzles and platforming. 

There’s a lot to enjoy in Promenade. Boss fights are tough, puzzles are creative, and platforming is satisfying. A simple notebook provides a glimpse into which cogs you’ve collected and which remain undiscovered. If you’re a completionist who enjoys such checklists, you’ll love ticking each cog off your list. 

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Overall, Promenade is a deceptively simple-looking title that’s full of things to do. There’s plenty of variety to keep you hooked, with challenging puzzles and platforming elements to conquer. It’s a sweet outing that’s super-satisfying to play.