Abstraction Games and Jaywalkers Interactive’s new physics-platformer is now available, and we’ve had a chance to check it out. Read on for our Kick & Fennick review!
There’s a bit of a story to Kick & Fennick, and the game starts off with you playing as a young boy named Kick who finds himself waking up in a bright and colorful, yet dangerous world. Soon you discover a friendly flying robot, Fennick, who becomes damaged and the two of you must make your way through the strange world together as you set out to find the replacement battery he needs.
Unfortunately, that’s about everything about the story and you never really do find out why Kick is where he is, or what happens after the part Fennick needs is found. There’s no dialogue throughout the game, and not really any cutscenes that progress the story along at all.
Story aside, Kick & Fennick is a sidescrolling platformer with a 3D look to it. You play as Kick, using your controller to aim, move, and shoot or propel yourself with the energy gun you find near the beginning. The controls are simple: use your right thumbstick to aim, left thumbstick to move, and right or left trigger to use the gun.
Your gun is your main weapon, and a big source of movement. Using the gun’s powerful recoil, you use it to propel yourself through the air across gaps, over energy beams and up to different floors within the level. The gun isn’t limited to a single jump either, and the double jump system is often required to jump larger gaps or even jump up one way then back another to get onto different floors.
Of course, you’ll have to also use it to shoot down enemies, and can break walls and shoot buttons to open doors with it as well. A nice mechanic in the game is that time slows when you are aiming to jump or shoot, which is super handy especially when trying to properly aim for the second jump.
If you do fall or get zapped by an energy beam or enemy, Fennick will grab you with a beam and reset you to the last ledge you jumped from. He will run out of energy doing this though, so while it’s a fail-safe against dying, it is possible to run out of luck. As you progress through each level, there are powernodes to collect and a special gear which unlocks new aesthetic outfits for you to equip Kick with.
There are five chapters with 45 levels of collapsed skyscrapers, treadmills, bounce-pads, magnets, teleporters, enemies, and a big guard robot that keeps showing up to stop Kick & Fennick from making their way through. The game also has easy, normal, and hard difficulties. At the end of each level, you’re awarded medals based on what difficulty you’re playing, the number of powernodes you’ve collected, and if you found the special gear in that level.
The gameplay on the Xbox One was smooth and flowed nicely, and the game definitely is challenging. There were a couple instances where the game zoomed in and didn’t seem to want to zoom out again which sometimes resulted in getting zapped, which also reset the screen zoom after Fennick placed you back up on a ledge.
It’s not the longest game either and you should be able to make it through in about four hours or so, but if you’re a collector you’ll want to go back and find every special gear and as many powernodes as you can.
The graphics in Kick & Fennick are vibrant and colourful, with a 3D cartoonish look to it. Blasting enemies sends them twirling off toward the screen, and the 3D look definitely added some depth to the side-scrolling setting. As mentioned above, the game does zoom in and out during different portions of the game, resulting in being really close to Kick, or on the opposite hand pretty far which gives you a better look at what’s ahead.
As previously mentioned, there’s no dialogue in the game, so sound design is that much more crucial to Kick & Fennick. Overall, the sound effects are well done, from Fennick’s blips and bleeps to the sound effects of the enemies and those of the gun. The ambient music fits well, and doesn’t detract from the game at all, which is a must for a puzzle platformer where you’re trying to figure out how to get through each level.
As far as side-scrolling platformers go, Kick & Fennick definitely added in a fun mechanic with needing to use the gun for shooting and propelling your way through the various levels.
A bit short on story, Kick & Fennick more than makes up for it in terms of gameplay and having to figure out your way through the various levels. If you’re looking for a fun little side-scrolling platformer, you should check it out.