KERN – Review

KERN – The Final Font Tier is a puzzle game that will appeal to the more creative of you out there. According to the developer Formation “This is a minimalist typography experience targeted squarely at graphic design and typography nerds”. Well being a graphic designer myself, I consider myself a member of that group, except we prefer to be called Creatives darling!

Featuring a minimalist white and green on black colour scheme, and the designer favourite ‘Helvetica’ as the font. The game looks like something you’d expect to come out of the famous Bauhaus design movement in the 20s and 30s, that’s if computer games were made back then of course!

kern2Each level features a word in white at the top of the screen, but there is a letter missing. At the bottom of the screen is the missing letter. You must grab the little green circle below the letter and drag it to line up the letter with the gap in the word at the top. However, as soon as you touch the green circle, a timer starts ticking down, and the word begins to slowly fall. So you must be quick in lining it up! Releasing your finger will cause the word to drop quickly, committing your letter to it’s position. At the end of each level you are scored. This is based on the size of the font, the leading amount (vertical spacing, but in this case height from the bottom of screen), and the accuracy of your kerning (space between letters). If your kerning is too tight (letters too close or even touching) you will lose a life, or ligature (joined characters). Lose five ligatures and it’s game over. There is no guide on screen, so all measurements must be done purely by eye, it certainly gets trickier when words start appearing in a tiny font!

KERN is a unique and stylised game which may not appeal to everyone’s tastes. If you are looking for a casual puzzle game and have a liking for stylised design, then this could be the game for you.


Presentation and Graphics
This is a hard one to rate graphically, the game isn’t heavy on graphics in conventional terms of polygons and textures, but it’s minimalist approach is key to the games charm. For that I rate it highly, but if you are a graphics whore you can take 2 stars off.


The sound is minimal too, but fitting. Xylophone-esque tones ring out with your taps.


With it’s simple touch controls and solid puzzle gameplay dynamic, it’s suprisingly addictive and has good replay-ability. Great for the casual market…. Hardcore gamers, this may not be for you!


Final Rating

KERN is available now for $0.99. It’s the right price for a game of it’s simplicity, and I recommend picking it up if you want a unique pick up and play challenge.

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