In Kiwanuka, you are a space wizard. A space wizard with a magic wand that shoots lighting. And with a horde of cultish followers. Followers that you command like the Pied Piper and his rats. And did I mention you live in space?
As a humble space wizard, your job is to lead your followers from the cold and lifeless rock you inhabit to the promised land, marked by a psychedelic rainbow question mark, which apparently marks the spot of a wormhole to another dimension. Standing in your way is a different kind of space rock that has the power to vaporize you and your followers. Fortunately for you, these deadly rocks glow bright colors, warning you of their radioactive nature. Glowing rocks are radioactive right? Ok, we made up the radioactive part.
Kiwanuka puts one tool in your hands: a magic wand. With that wand you have the power to stack your followers on top of one another, then knock them over, essentially forming a human chain. You and the rest of your followers can walk across the chain, though not climb it when it’s in tower form. You can also collapse the chain if you want to jump off early. That’s pretty much the extent of the game.
The controls are pretty intuitive. Simply touch and drag from your character side to side to move. Dragging up extends a lightning bolt that, once released, prompts your followers to stack. Then simply nudge the tower of followers to one side or the other to send them in either direction. If you need to collapse the new tower or chain of followers, double tap it.
The controls can at time become frustrating at times, due to the wizard’s tendency to walk forward or back if the lightning bolt isn’t pointed straight up. This can be problematic when you’re standing dangerously close to one of the glowing space rocks. Similarly, when you want to walk across a chain, it’s not uncommon for the wizard to take several steps forward along the rock, then double back to descend down the chain. Again, this can prove problematic when you’re standing in precarious places.
Kiwanuka is delightful as you’re learning the ropes of the magical, psychedelic world. Unfortunately, once the learning phase is over, the challenge of Kiwanuka ends. As you continue to play, each additional level is unlikely to offer much in the way of a challenge. Eventually moving space rocks are introduced, which don’t offer as much of a cerebral challenge as it does a dexterous one. That is, when you’re faced with a challenge involving moving rocks, it’s clear what the solution is, but it’ll take several attempts in order to get the timing just right. After three or four attempts, this can get frustrating.
Kiwanuka offers a unique premise in a slick, psychedelic package, but it’s ultimately a shallow experience that never truly gets off the ground. We estimate that the average player should get about an hour of real enjoyment out of Kiwanuka, with a few additional hours to fully complete the game.
Kiwanuka Review: Strange Aesthetic, Simple Game
-Not very challenging
-Frustrating dexterity-based levels