Promenade Review – Got you stuck on my elevator

Reviewed February 25, 2024 on Nintendo Switch


PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, PS5


February 23, 2024


Holy Cap


Holy Cap

2D platformers will always be here to stay, especially when they use elements from other genres to make their game well-rounded. Promenade is one of those titles. It’s a puzzle game, collectathon, and Metroidvania all rolled into one great release! You play as Nemo, a red-headed child, and with the help of his friend, you have to track down the broken cogs to fix The Great Elevator. From the French development team Holy Cap Studios, Promenade is a hand-crafted and gorgeous game. It’s filled to the brim with inspiration from 3D platformers, Disney and Pixar films, as well as modern cartoons. Will Promenade hold open the elevator for you, or let the doors close in your face?

The premise for Promenade is pretty simple, much like other 2D platformers. You control Nemo, a child who takes a great fall into a large body of water, only for a creature called Poulp (French for “octopus”) to rescue them. After the creature nurses you back to health, you make your way out of the cave you fell into and back up using the Great Elevator, only it’s broken. The cogs used to control the lift are scattered across the lands by a large evil octopus-like creature who was inside your body moments ago. It’s up to you and your octopus friend to find the broken cogs and fix the elevator.

One of the selling points of Promenade is its inspiration from popular 3D platformers such as Mario 64, Banjo-Kazooie, Spyro and Mario Odyssey. And it’s evident how these monumental titles have influenced this tiny game. All four games are collectathons, meaning you have to collect a certain number of things to advance the plot. You’ve seen it once, you’ve seen it before. Promenade doesn’t evolve the genre, and that’s fine. It’s actually quite fun having to collect the cogs because the game uses these moments to subject you to different gameplay ideas such as solving puzzles, racing characters, and much more.

“…it’s evident how these monumental titles have influenced this tiny game.”

You can also see where Promenade borrows from Metroidvanias. The game gives your octopus friend power-ups when you reach certain milestones throughout the game. This means you can start using your friend as a grappling hook or even as a backpack. It makes you feel as if you’re upgrading your character whilst doing something more tangible than simply putting skill points into health or stamina.

The game could do a better job of explaining certain things. When getting power-ups, there are diagrams that explain what each does. With the backpack power-up, for instance, all it does is show a diagram of a bag. It doesn’t tell you what button to press for access and even checking the controller settings doesn’t highlight this either. It’s frustrating and pauses the built-up momentum of play.

There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to this game, though you are rewarded for your experimentation. Promenade even offers a lot of speedrunning capabilities for those who have that interest.

There are so many different elements at play in Promenade and the way you achieve your goals is actually quite clever. You may find yourself having to be rather quick on your feet or implementing creative and quick thinking. There’s a whole bunch of different challenges you can do with the ultimate goal of piecing the cogs back together.

Some levels have you racing a penguin who has a jet pack, or you’re trying to help a crab artist named Di Pinci with his paintings. There are portals you can go through and obstacle courses to complete. Promenade even has boss battles, some are mini ones, whereas others can be big and challenging where you’ll need to learn their moves to whittle their health down little by little.

When it comes to the art style, Promenade is downright gorgeous! The colours are vibrant and they stand out, especially your octopus friend. The worlds all look so different and unique as each occupies its own distinct visual aesthetic. One level even feels like it’s inspired by Super Mario Galaxy. The whole game feels like it’s made out of pastels with the colour schemes for each level selling the whole thing.

Touching on the sound design, it’s so whimsical. The background music plays into the area you’re in. Whenever you nab the cog piece, the victory sound feels that much better. Even the popping of your heart breaking each time you get hit is satisfying. The sound feels like it could be from a Mario platformer, which makes sense considering they’re inspired by the Italian plumber.

I did experience one bug whilst playing, where everything went black after I loaded into a new level. I couldn’t figure out if it was a long load time or something else. But quickly hopping out into the main menu and then going back in fixed it. The game auto-saves only, but I didn’t lose a lot of progress. Promenade is quite generous when it comes to checkpoints and saving. The game is similarly generous in its health system as well. Throughout the levels you can encounter a hammock that you and your octopus friend can sleep on, helping to restore your health. One of the accessibility functions Holy Cap has implemented is the frequency with which your health replenishes. You can choose from different intervals which is a welcome addition to the game, as some of those boss fights aren’t a walk in the park.

Speaking of accessibility, there are places where the game does deserve praise. The ability to remap buttons and change the percentage of screen shake you receive are two such examples.

Promenade is a cute game to pick up and give a go, especially for short bursts as it’s so easy to jump in and start playing. Just make sure you’re not creating a scene if you keep falling out of the sky.




  • Approachable and varied ideas
  • Vibrant art design
  • Engaging trial and error gameplay


  • Could explain mechanics better

Promenade is a cute 2D platformer with heavy inspiration from 3D platformers of yore. It dips into other genres like puzzle, Metroidvania and collectathons and eases players into its varied gameplay ideas. While the game could explain things better, such as what buttons to press for certain mechanics, what it does is create a great and vibrant experience for its players. Considering this is the debut game from the team at Holy Cap, it’s a fantastic achievement.