Ayo is a clown that lives a carefree life doing what clowns do best. But one day his precious dog disappears and not because it was a magic act. The game is simple and will remind you of past games you may have played growing up. Each area consists of a few stages, and there is always a boss to fight which is the end of those areas. It’s a side-scrolling platformer that lets you fully explore the level, meaning you are able to backtrack if you want. There are tons of checkpoints making it so if you do happen to perish, it won’t be long before you’re able to try again. You will be picking up clown-based weapons to help you on your journey. As you progress you will gain more abilities to help you move along the levels, such as sliding and wall jumping. There is a huge cast of side characters that you’ll also help along your way, who very well may return the favor. Move over Rudolph, there’s another red-nosed hero ready to save the day!

Here’s what I liked:

Casual and Colorful — Over the years, there have been plenty of side-scrolling platformers that we all know and love. I don’t even have to mention which ones I’m talking about. For a while, this was the go-to genre. Any movie game would typically be a side-scrolling platformer. Like Aladdin or even the Adam’s Family. Okay, I guess I decided to mention some. The ones I’m referring to are the easier ones that were more kid-friendly. You just went level by level, going from left to right to get to the finish line. Every now and then there’s a boss, but they weren’t too difficult to beat. This game follows that same formula. You can kick up your clown shoes and just play without having to worry about many frustrating areas or rogue-type gameplay that demands you keep dying until you get better. I was happy with just playing a few levels a day. The levels are also full of color, even the gems you pick up are different and not all just gold coins. I wasn’t hooked nor was I discouraged from finishing the game.

Not So Serious Theme — You have to admit, playing as a clown is a pretty good idea. Everything revolves around the silly character, from weapons to balloons that allow you to float to the next platform. Not everything around you is based on a circus either. Ayo is a clown but he’s not surrounded by circus folk. It’s just kind of his thing and besides his chosen profession, he seems pretty normal. He has a crush, has a pet dog, and lives what appears to be a normal life besides the dangerous situation he’s suddenly in. And that’s another example of how you can be reminded of past games you played growing up. A character is just living their day-to-day life, then something happens to where they are pushed into being a hero. Similar to Mario or Sonic, where they lived quiet lives until the princess was captured and the animals in the forest were kidnapped. No real backstory, just upfront the first level you’re playing is the start of the journey. You get a small scene at the beginning showing why you’re running around jumping on odd creatures’ heads. This formula has worked before and it’s fine for today’s standards too. Sometimes I don’t want to wait thirty minutes to start playing.

Here’s what I didn’t like:

Clownin Around — There are weapons you can pick up to help battle your serious and not funny enemies. I wish I had a long list for you, but there are really three. You can pick up a balloon sword, a giant hammer, and water balloons that can be thrown at a distance. While I enjoyed this arsenal of goofy clown weapons, they weren’t actually all that helpful in most scenarios. Not only do you lose them when you’re hit, but jumping on enemies is usually easier than trying to time your attacks (which are much slower). You can also charge your attacks up, which also proves quite useless. The levels can seem quite long but would be even longer if you focused too much time on using weapons instead of speeding through either jumping on enemies or ignoring them completely.

What a Joke — Do you love pranks? Well, it seems the skill that was added for wall jumping was a practical joke. It has led to some of the worst wall jumpings I have ever experienced in any game. It doesn’t make sense how it works, often seeming more like luck. While a good portion of the game feels fluid, this is where it really starts to fall apart. In fact, after beating the game there’s a new level that unlocks that I didn’t complete because there is way too much wall jumping required. I didn’t even want to bother with it, even after investing my time. There is one other skill I was not a fan of, and that was sliding. It just felt awkward trying to push down with barely any running momentum. These areas where the skills needed to be used almost ruin the game.

Boring Intermission — There’s a town you’re able to visit if you want to stretch your feet and get out of those giant clown shoes you’re trying to fill. What can you do there? Not much! You can talk to people, though it is very little dialogue. You can lounge on a chair at the beach. And you can buy an item which is a bigger balloon. You can increase your health once I think too. But all those gems you collect will all go towards just upgrading the balloon one time. It seems like a lot of wasted space and resources. It would be a lot cooler if you could upgrade other things, like weapons, extra speed, or even cosmetics. I think there was a big miss on being able to change the color of your outfit or wearing funny masks or costumes. Something that makes you really want to collect those gems and replay levels. Something to give you a sense of completion.


If you have a fear of clowns, you may want to steer clear of this title. I will say, I am very impressed with the actual idea of a side-scrolling platformer with a clown theme. The weapons and balloon ability go very well with this theme. It feels unique and refreshing. There are just times you wonder when a level will finally end because you have overstayed your welcome. There is a small amount of replayability if you want to get all of the collectibles, but I don’t believe you really earn anything besides having the “A grade”. It’s one of those games that I didn’t mind playing because it is mildly entertaining, but I had no real desire to play it or finish it (I did anyway). If you’re after a story, you won’t find much of one here but that’s okay because this genre is really aimed at having a fun time avoiding obstacles and getting to the finish line of a level. There was no real magic about it, and maybe there would be if this was made in the 90s instead.

Score: Reader’s Choice

Ayo the Clown was published by Eastasialoft Limited and developed by Cloud M1 on Xbox One. It was released on April 21, 2021, for $19.99. A copy was provided for review purposes.