In a world where heads are blocky, and the environment is mixture of trippy drugs and retro coolness something is seriously wrong. The blocky army is on the march, and just like lemmings they need some help. Without any knowledge of the peril at hand, or even why they have to march they march. If the map doesn’t correlate with reality just burn the map, and collect some frigging stars. The mission is as clear as getting from a green spawn point to a red door. What else do you need to know? Nothing I tell you.
Kami Retro is a puzzle platformer where you have to guide four troopers from point A to point B. Each level needs you to plan using the different objects at hand. Tapping a fan, trampoline or spring selects it, and then you simply drag and drop to a new location. Once you have the layout done you tap the green spawn point to release a trooper. He marches on, and you have to control jumping and turning manually. This is done by swiping horizontally over the dude to jump, and across to turn.
The controls are kind of sketchy, and often fail to register as expected. As you cover the trooper with your finger as you swipe it also gets hard to make those high precision jumps. I would have liked to have the ability to swipe anywhere on the screen, or have a special area for swiping. Too often the marching men fall to their death due to failed swipes even though the screen shows that I have drawn a diagonal swipe. As you have to guide four dudes through the same obstacles it gets really repetitive when you miss a jump on the third or forth soldier.
The presentation is marvellous in my opinion. I am a huge fan of retro graphics in general, and when it is done in such a bombastic way like Kami Retro does it my visual pleasure centre goes in overdrive. Flashing effects, bright colors and movement all over the screen get those synapses firing. The troopers look like a combination of Mario and John Gore. The different level packs come with their own styles, and obstacles.
Less focus seems to have gone into the soundtrack that is a couple of short retro 8-bit tracks on endless repeat. Knowing how great chiptune, and 8-bit tracks can sound this just grates on me. Thankfully you can play your own music instead, and keep the sound effects. Speaking of sound effects those are ok, but could have been wackier and more coherent with the wacky graphics.
There are 60 levels in the game, and completing them all with three stars takes quite a while. It does get repetitive though, as there aren’t that many variations to obstacles or items to use. Most of the time it is all about timing the jumping/turning correctly, as you soon learn how to quickly place the objects to reach the exit. I really like the fact that the game is quick to reload a level when you have to retry, and that all objects are as you left them. Leaderboards, and 25 cool achievements are available through Game Center.
Kami Retro is an equally fun, as frustrating puzzle platformer. The controls are a bit hit n’miss even after hours of jumping with the blocky dudes. On the positive you get some wicked visuals, and loads of levels. This is one of those games that you can play for a quick break, or play to the end in a session. I can recommend it to most users looking for a cool platform puzzler, but be aware of the control issues and the frustration you might have in store for you.
Kami Retro $1.99
Seller: Gamevil USA, Inc.