As it stands, it takes a lot to stand out as a puzzle-platformer. There’s a cornucopia of games to choose from, so a developer really has to nab an interesting art style or great controls or some other concept to hold a consumer’s attention. Does Kyubo accomplish this? In some ways, yes. In other ways, it falls a bit short.
The premise is fairly simple. You wake up in a strange and mysterious dungeon and must find a way to escape. In order to do this, the player must go through the eighty puzzle and pitfall-filled rooms, jumping on platforms and using powers obtained throughout. These powers constitute mainly of being able to influence the movement of certain platform blocks in the rooms and this is what frames the majority of the puzzles in the game.
Truly, Kyubo leans far more towards puzzles than platforming. While none of the puzzles are exceedingly difficult, some can be real mind-benders to figure out within the optional constraints given to the player. See, a crown is available at the end of each room if the puzzle is solved within a certain number of moves. It’s up to the player to decide if they want to get the crown, and this adds a nice little challenge to the game with a strong sense of accomplishment, even more so if the player does this in even less moves than they are limited to. Luckily, there are usually several different ways to solve a puzzle, even if they go over the move limit for getting crowns.
The puzzles do not just consist of moving blocks around. There are other obstacles to contend with, such as cannons, fragile ice blocks, spikes, and so on. These add another layer to the planning and experimentation of the puzzles, as well as a need for timing jumps. This is where Kyubo’s shortcomings become apparent. There are puzzles that require quite some precision platforming and timing and this is at odds with the game’s floaty physics. While not impossible, I did end up having to take breaks every so often out of frustration with jumps that seemed slippery or not my intention. This was exacerbated by the game’s touch controls, which sometimes felt unresponsive, especially if I tried to quickly move my fingers to another button or attempted a diagonal jump. For someone with less patience, this might end up a deal breaker.
Nevertheless, when my patience wasn’t being tested, Kyubo was a lot of fun. It’s very much a mobile game, able to be picked up for a few puzzles and put back down. The art style isn’t the usually bubbly and cute fare, instead far more somber and giving an air of mystery. I particularly liked the main character’s design, as it is distinctive and stands out amongst platformer protagonists. The music fits the tone of the game as well, complementing its mystery while still being rather relaxing and non-pressuring.
If you’re looking for something good to play when you have a few minutes to spare, give Kyubo a go. The developer, Chestnut Games, offers a free version (given a Lite subtitle) and the full version for only a dollar on the iOS, Google Play, and Amazon app stores. You can find more information about the game on its official website.
This game was reviewed using a copy provided by the developer for that purpose. This review is based on the Android version.
© 2013, The Indie Mine. All rights reserved.