The puzzle genre is one of the richest and most intricate in gaming, as many titles of other genres always love to insert a cheeky puzzle section here and there to make the players make use of that grey matter once in a while. The God of War franchise is a perfect example of this, as the game combines the action adventure style with neat puzzles spread throughout the game.
Then there are titles such as Kinetic Edge, which although labelled primarily as a platformer, feels very much like a puzzle game as well. The game is a huge chunk of neon lights, which is pleasing to the eye in a non-invasive manner if you are not epileptic at least. The game immediately lets players know of the possibility of the game being the cause of an unfortunate attack upon startup, so be as careful with your condition as possible, as there may be very severe and ugly consequences.
Let us talk however on what Kinetic Edge actually is. The game can be considered to be a collection of different game modes, all with the same base of being in this world of neon lights and coloured platforms. There are four basic modes in the game, and each mode has a different playable aspect to it, apart from there being multiple maps to each mode apart from Gauntlet, which we will go over later. There is the Race mode, Golf mode, Maze and, as mentioned, Gauntlet, and all these have different rules from each other.
The first mode is Race, and this is the main mode of Kinetic Edge. You basically have a course which you have to run against a timer trying to record your best time. The gameplay is fairly simple, as you only have commands to move around, jump and double jump and dash. There is also the option to “blast”, where your object releases a small blast around itself, but the mechanic is rarely used. There are frequent checkpoints along the level, so you will restart at a fairly recent spot if you fall over. The levels are challenging but fair, so you will not be very frustrated if you fail an attempt repeatedly, as all it takes is figuring what you are doing wrong and working around it. Generally, there is only one hard segment in each checkpoint, making the game far more manageable in terms of difficulty.
The second game mode needs no introduction as everyone and their nan know what golf is. Obviously, this is much better when playing with friends, but you can train or try to set a record number of least putts on your way to the hole, which gives the game that bit of extra replayability. This Golf mode is where I would expect to have the shape function come into play the most, as this will let players change the shape of their controlled object during the game. Your default option is a sphere, but changing to a square when playing friends will make for a neat variation and increase the skill required to actually get to the hole, as well as multiply the awkwardness and laughter factor.
The third game mode is the Maze, in which you are presented with very high walls impeding you to see anywhere other than in front of you or behind. The objective is once again straightforward, as you need to get out of the maze in the least time possible. There are three levels one can play in the Maze mode – one being the smallest 10×10 size, then there is a 20×20 and finally a massive Labyrinth at 50×50. The Labyrinth is an incredibly tedious and large level needless to say, and will test your limits of patience in order to find your way out.
The final game mode is the Gauntlet, where as the name implies will feature a series of challenges one after the other. What makes the Gauntlet more daunting than the Race game mode is that you have only one checkpoint in the former, while in the latter the checkpoints are 6 and frequent. The Gauntlet is the ultimate Race track in the game and will take you a lot of attempts. There is also a countdown timer running backwards, so you cannot even take your time while traversing it.
Kinetic Edge is a fun, little game where you’ll spend a couple of hours playing it. Unfortunately, the content is extremely limited, with only 12 levels spread between Race, Golf and Maze, and a thirteenth in the Gauntlet. Coupled by the fact that there are only two achievements (spoiler alert – for playing and for skipping tutorial), it highlights the lack of features that would have otherwise made Kinetic Edge that much better.
If there was say a continuous level mode where there are 20 levels which you need to beat in sequence it could at least entertain players for a good number of hours, but with no continuity the game feels very empty and lacks content which will make players want to replay it, save for the golf modes. There are other games which do golf better, so it would not make a very good case in getting Kinetic Edge over the other titles.
Feel free to check out the game on its official Steam page.
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