Around half of the games on the AppStore right now are puzzle games. It’s an over crowded genre, but at the same time a testament to how well suited the iPhone is to gaming. After all, with puzzles doing so well on pda’s and now the DS, with its touch screen the iPhone is the obvious choice for puzzlers, allowing direct input. With all the Sudoku, match three, solitaire and pears games out there… it’s nice to see a developer bend your mind in a new and original way.
Enter KinWits by Mike Harris, a grid based puzzle game requiring you to get all your pieces from one part of the grid to another, one move at a time. In this instance your pieces are called KinWits, a mysterious tribal race of creatures from the world of Kin. They seem nice enough, but unfortunately they hate other KinWits, of differing colour, with a passion. Luckily, all out war has been avoided. Instead they choose to simply eschew each other. This apparent racism does not make reaching the level goals any easier either.
Each level features a tiled grid in various layouts. The KinWits appear on the grid in groups of two or three on a tile each, and it’s your job to get them to the tiles marked with green circles, which will then warp them to the next level. To move the KinWits you simply tap on the up, down, left and right arrows on the edges of the screen. However, the tricky part come from the fact that you cannot move them separately, they move only as group. Trickier still are the blue and white tiles which, if a KinWit enters, will change it’s colour (or tribe). This will cause the newly coloured KinWit to move in the opposite direction of the others. Of course, you don’t want to avoid these coloured tiles, as most of the time colour changing is required to navigate your KinWits through the grid and into position on the warp tiles. But you will need to use your noggin to decide when and on which KinWits you should change. Later levels feature other colours which force the KinWits do behave in other ways. For instance, the yellow tile which will cause a KinWit to move in a 90 degree direction to the others, a trick that will allow you to manoeuvre through one tile corners on the grid, and added wall obstacles. Occasionally you will get stuck and a message of “no more moves” will appear. To continue simply tap the reset button in the top right corner to restart that level.
The presentation in the game is nothing to write home about. Apart from the cutely rendered KinWits, the game features clean and simple design, a basic colour palette and the menu system sports the look and feel of the usual iPhone application interface. Sound is minimal and best left off. To be honest though, while the games visuals and sound could be polished, I don’t think this would improve the experience greatly, showing that simply gameplay alone can be all you need for a successful game.
Presentation & Graphics:
There’s not a lot going on graphics wise. And yes there are many puzzle games out there that wipe the floor with this game graphically. But don’t let that make you miss out on a great puzzler.
Sound: 1 star
The sound is pretty bad. Unnecessary voices alert you to the different coloured KinWits and there’s a clicking sound when you make a move. For some reason the sound slows down play, which might explain why the sound is set to off as default in the options section.
This simple to control puzzle game will test your mind. Just as you get the hang of it, it throws something new at you. But the further you get the harder it is to put down.
70 mind bending levels should keep you busy. That’s if the Kinwits’ freakish stares don’t put you in a trance
Yes the graphics and sound both score low, but they are not essential ingredients for this particular style of game. If you are a puzzle fan, then KinWits will give you a great challenge, and all for the very reasonable price of $1.99 (£1.19)