Review: Super Kiwi 64 – A mature N64-style platformer with challenging energy
Super Kiwi 64 looks like it’s on to something. There is a beguiling energy about this that is impossible to ignore. Players of previous Siactro games might have expected it, but this is nothing more than the same. Super Kiwi 64 is weird in its own way, offering a new guided tour of this indie developer’s mind.
Kiwi opens in a central area that connects eight main levels of the N64-style non-linear object-assembly platform. It seems to have been perfectly preserved in the icy ice since the N64’s Silicon Graphics Reality coprocessor era. It could have been released in 1999, imitating equally Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. Even then, though we were a little wary, because the level of polish just didn’t match those titles. But despite that, it feels like it’s there Something Happening – strange thing.
From level one, the messy edges were right in our faces. The camera, for example, has it Economic freedom Attitude is hard on things in the environment and he’ll just happily cut out any scene you want…but that’s something is happening however? We naturally used the camera to spy through the walls and see where we should try to get. Was this by design? Are there game mechanics built from seemingly broken 3D fundamentals? Or is this actually a messy aesthetic where you just need to relax around the camera and your bourgeois expectation that it should engage in a rigid environment charade? Is the camera intentionally flawed as a parody of itself and an examination of players’ expectations of value in producing a AAA game? Or could it be just nonsense?
That last possibility doesn’t hold off. Much of Super Kiwi 64 is so polished that it’s not just too wrong: the controls are responsive and fun, the motion trick of sticking your beak into a wall and jumping to climb (Mario Odyssey reference?) is satisfying. The level design, on the other hand, is quite simple, with portals with a red key that opens, a red door, and a clear tally of collectibles that are rarely hidden well, if at all.
However, the defiant simplicity of everything is so controlled that Siactro must certainly do it consciously. Kiwi’s festive pose while collecting the Gem is comically less of a sell than Mario’s whirl – now somewhat exaggerated – when collecting the Power Moon. Close your eyes and you’ll miss it, but, jokingly, it’s pitch-perfect. And like the Toree games before it, Super Kiwi 64’s scattering of levels is excused for its brevity and very low difficulty. However, while you can finish the entire game in 1-2 hours, it has a bunch of really dark secrets buried in it. Without spoiling, let’s just say they convinced us that the truly damned look of the piece wasn’t just in our heads.
Our experience with Super Kiwi 64 comes down to this: we had a good time, but we can’t always tell if it’s in spite of or because of the match. Either we found a gold coin in a muddy field or we found Elvis’ face in our porridge. If you’re up for it, be sure to bring your imagination along with £2.69.
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