Recently, we saw the release of Beeny – a competent 2D platformer that offered zero challenge but laid the narrative foundations for Kiwi’s next adventure: Super Kiwi 64.
Acting as a prelude, the game saw the titular protagonist help Kiwi prepare for his next adventure … before seeing him take a crash landing. Whoops.
Will Kiwi be able to make it out alive? And, more to the point, will you even care?
Many thanks to Diplodocus Games for the review code.
KIWI IS NO CHICKEN
Following the frankly non-essential plot of Beeny, Super Kiwi 64 sees our feathered friend suffer a beak accident as his plane crashes in some mysterious ruins. The only way to repair his plane is to collect 40 Jewels, which will supposedly allow your craft to run again. Don’t worry about how it’s supposed to do that. It’s not explained, and it’s not important.
The plot is, of course, a mere framing device for the game itself: enter the eight worlds, collect the majority of the available jewels and make your way out.
As the setup implies, Super Kiwi 64 is a 3D platformer through and through. Taking inspiration from the classics, you’ll be guiding Kiwi through small open environments and collecting pretty much everything you can. Kiwi has access to a corkscrew attack (mainly for hammering stationary wooden targets rather than actual enemies), a glider, and the ability to stick his nose into anything. The latter ability is probably the most useful and most interesting move at your disposal, since it essentially allows you to climb up anything. For those who have played Super Mario Odyssey, it’s more or less identical to the Pokio transformation as that woodpecker also likes to navigate anywhere using his beaked nose.
It’s not exactly the biggest moveset, but it’s all you need to get around. With eight worlds, you can expect a reasonable variety of locations to wander around, which range from relatively simple and flat to surprisingly well detailed. It’s pretty decent for the most part though, so the blander textures don’t stand out too much. The music is also generally quite pleasing, even if the audio balancing in the game is absolutely dreadful. The game appears to have no sound effects at all, until you realise that they’re just so quiet that the music drowns them out completely. This can be rectified by lowering the music volume substantially, but it should never have been like this in the first place. Not being able to hear anything as you pick up collectibles just feels completely unrewarding.
But that’s not to say it isn’t any fun. Environments are fun to explore, especially with Kiwi’s great moveset, and there are some fun platforming segments here too. Sure, it retains the simplicity and easiness of most SIACTRO titles – which probably verge on being too easy, even for small children – but it’s still fun enough not to ever feel bored. That being said, the lack of enemies does result in the worlds feeling somewhat lifeless and it would have been nice to have more NPCs and creatures around, even if they only served to get in your way rather than do actual damage.
Despite the game’s short length, the eight miniature worlds feel satisfying enough to play through in a single session and that alone justifies the low price of admission. Being able to play through the stages in any order also helps encourage replayablity, and there’s even a small reward for those who manage to grab all six jewels from every world.
SIACTRO have crafted yet another cute little 3D platformer that, whilst lacking in challenge, offers a bite-sized piece of nostalgia for fans of N64 era collectathons. Super Kiwi 64 shows off how well the developer can craft stages, and I really hope that they can build upon this in the future by creating a larger scale project. As it is though, this is still 40 minutes of enjoyable gameplay for a very cheap price.