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Papo & Yo announced for PSN

Translates drug trauma to cute adventure.

Colourful fantasy adventure Papo & Yo arrives on PlayStation Network in 2012, Sony has announced.

Developed by Montreal-based indie studio Minority, it tells the story of a boy called Quico who lives in a South American slum.

Good news: his best buddy and protector is massive beast called Monster. Bad news: Monster is addicted to eating frogs, which unfortunately turn him into an evil killing machine. If Quico wants to avoid becoming beast chow he'll need to track down a cure for his buddy's affliction.

Sound cute? Not so. Beneath the cartoony veneer hides a sobering drug abuse allegory, with the game drawing directly on the troubled childhood of creative director Vander Caballero.

"The tale told in Papo & Yo is about myself and my father, a good man but also an evil one," he explained on the PlayStation Blog.

"Like many, he used alcohol and drugs to cope with a challenging life, and I was caught in the middle of it. The emotional core of this game is ultimately a fable about my relationship with my father."

Take a look at the trailer below to see how Caballero and his team have translated such heavy subject matter into what looks like a vibrant, breezy adventure.

As well as thanking Sony's Pub Fund for helping get the game off the ground, Caballero also tipped his hat to Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto.

"I remember playing videogames in my difficult childhood days. I remember how the unpleasant world of adults loomed around me and made me feel vulnerable. But I did not feel like that when I was playing as Mario: I felt powerful and in control of a fantastic world. I loved defeating bosses that were larger than life to me, and today I thank you Miyamoto; now is my time to give back."

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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