Papo & Yo is a rare game that manages to perfectly represent what it is like to be a child and the effects of substance abuse by those closest to them. This surprised me, because it is hard to tell a story with such complex themes under the guise of a game with any degree of success. Yet Papo & Yo handles it beautifully, and crafts an emotionally rewarding experience that deserves to be played. It certainly has its problems, but it manages to entertain and engage the player from beginning to end.Throughout Papo & Yo you play as Quico, a young boy who explores a dream like interpretation of Brazilian styled favelas. Throughout the game you are accompanied by three characters. The first is Lula, a cute yellow robot who hangs on to Quico’s back throughout the game, and serves to help him navigate and solve the puzzles that he encounters throughout his journey. There is also a girl who uses chalk to bring buildings and other objects in the environment to life, and more often than not plays tricks rather than help. These two characters are the ones that actively communicate to you.And then there’s Monster, a giant pink beast who grunts and roars as he eats and sleeps. Despite his outward frightful appearance, he is actually quite peaceful more often than not.Papo & Yo handles the complexities of addiction and abuse extremely well, never going into lengthy explanations or long, dialogue encumbered scenes in order to convey its themes. Instead, the game mostly relies on the actions of the characters and the change in environments and scenery in order to communicate, which is a very welcome change.Throughout Quico’s journey, he will encounter puzzles of varying length and complexity that obstruct his path. What is most amazing about Papo & Yo’s puzzles is that they involve the environment in rather stunning and wonderful ways.Turning a switch can result in a building gaining legs and moving to another position, pulling a lever could turn a building sideways to unveil a hidden set of stairs, and lifting a box can create and move giant crates that could be used at your disposal. The mechanics and feel of Papo & Yo also deserve praise. The jumping and navigating of the world feels natural, and I always enjoyed how Quico interacts with his environment. The favelas are simply stunning to navigate and explore. The locations feel like they have been lived in, but also are off just enough that you can tell that it is in an imaginative world. The sounds that the environment makes as you solve puzzles and move about are a delight to listen to, and credit must be given to whoever designed the ambient sounds found within the game.Papo & Yo is a unique game. It handles its themes extremely well, and the world is simply amazing to behold. Though the game is not without its faults, chief among them a lack of difficulty and challenge, Papo & Yo should be played at least once. Trust me, the journey will be quite worth it.