Possibly the most exciting and intriguing game to emerge from the App Store this week, Kiwanuka [$0.99] is a beautifully designed abstract puzzler that manages to be electrifying in every way. There are countless words I could use to describe this game, but none of them would describe just how fascinating this game truly is. Whimsical, magical, and enchanting don’t even come close.
Reminiscent of a Lemmings-esque game, with a primary focus on puzzles rather than powers, you play as a wizard who wields a mystical electric staff, used to co-ordinate a horde of pixelated characters around each level, with the aim of rescuing one of your numerous imprisoned acolytes. Instead of using the typical ladders, ropes and mining tools, you create bridges and man-made ladders using your band of followers, all while assisting the direction with your handy lightning-generating staff.
Creating a tower using the lightning emanating from your staff, you then can gently push the tower over the edge to create a ladder or bridge of sorts and connect it to the underside or to another adjacent floating rock. Examining your environment is somewhat crucial, as part of your success will be evaluating how long each tower should be and in which direction they need to be swinging in order to advance safely.
Timing is also an equally important factor, as it may be necessary to have to destroy a bridge mid-crossing in order to drop into another area. However, keep your wits about you, as falling off rocks and onto dangerous terrain leads to certain death.
Figuring out how to navigate all the drops, gaps and various other hazards, gets increasingly difficult as the game advances, but the simple mechanics and intuitive controls hide well what is essentially a complex and very intricately-designed puzzler.
What struck me first and foremost about this game however, is just how beautifully polished it looks, and just how much thought has gone into the design of every separate screen, from the menu to the artistic effects and glorious animation. It’s especially relieving to know that there are still developers coming up with original and intriguing concepts amongst all the shovelware.
Kiwanuka is available right now for both iPad and iPhone and it’ll keep you mesmerised for countless hours. This is one game that certainly sets the standards for all future puzzle games.
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