Kine – There are many interesting features to any puzzler style of game, trying to keep the game fresh and unique, putting in some form of storyline and obviously giving it a difficulty rating that leaves it both accessible and challenging. It’s not easy to be a game developer these days. That having been said there are some simple things that are expected from games, and it is always disappointing when they just don’t meet the mark.
Kine managed to achieve more than many in this regard. The artwork is attractive, the puzzles are challenging yet solvable and ultimately there is an undeniable storyline that unfolds as the puzzles are completed, however, it is lacking in something.
The storyline is interesting, you play as different instruments all trying to be a part of one band. You work together to complete puzzles so that you can get achievements that will eventually make the band a huge success. There are little backgrounds and histories of the characters, and side quests which give the player a little insight into the behind the scenes life of the instruments. It is difficult to bring a strong storyline into a puzzle game so highest praise for that, it definitely added a new element and was nice to see. Each character has personality, which added so much to the overall gameplay – it was genuinely funny at times and the instruments would bicker and mock, much like real bandmates.
I also noticed that in connection with the storyline, it is possible in some scenarios, to leave your bandmate behind and not take them to the finish line, or choose not to work as part of a team. Some of the variables in the game are based on teamwork. Depending on how you choose to complete the level this may affect your relationship with your fellow bandmates. I cannot be sure from my playthrough which elements are affected by these choices.
The biggest issues I found when playing Kine were the repetitive nature of the game, each puzzle is similar and when you complete the level you unlock yet more of these similar levels. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as a romantic little tangent where bandmates have the opportunity to become more, however overall it felt pretty samey the whole way through. There is even a level that comments on the monotony of doing the same thing over and over again to complete a workday. The music was also pretty repetitive, considering that ultimately the game is about music, I hoped to see a bit more variation. Admittedly the music is dynamic and changes with the characters you are playing, but the tune itself begins to grind after a few levels. It was nice to have dynamic music, I just felt like something was missing.
Whilst playing the game I spent a large amount of time looking at the different control dynamics and the unique movement style accomplished. On this front, there is more than enough to make the game stand out, but as the levels become more challenging and more characters are required to work together to complete the puzzles, the ease of play is significantly reduced. You have to change between characters, and between mechanisms per character, and it doesn’t really work. Sorry to disappoint but the controls that were previously so easy to use suddenly become inaccessible and frustrating. When the biggest puzzle is whether to press R2 or L2 you’re losing out.
So what is the overall verdict?
I think this game is more than worth a go for anyone with a passion for puzzles, it is fun and engaging and – despite the unusual premise – it has a story arch that makes you want musical instruments to make it in this crazy messed up world.