Super Kiwi 64 (2022) Review (Switch eShop)

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Super Kiwi 64 feels like it’s onto something. There’s a tricky energy to it that’s impossible to ignore. Players of Siactro’s earlier games might expect that, but this isn’t just more of the same. Super Kiwi 64 is weird in its own special way and presents another tour of the mind of this indie developer.

Kiwi opens into a hub area that connects eight main levels for N64-style non-linear item-collecting platforming. It looks like it’s been perfectly preserved in glacial ice since the Silicon Graphics Reality Coprocessor era of the N64. It could have been released in 1999, equal parts Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. Even then, however, we would have been somewhat wary as the level of polish isn’t up to par with those titles. But despite that, it just feels like it’s there something going on – something strange.

From the very first level, the messy edges were right in our faces. So the camera has one laissez faire attitude to the solidity of objects in the environment and will happily cut through any landscape you like… But it’s something going on with that? We used the camera, of course, to spy through walls and see where to try to get to. Was it designed that way? Are there game mechanics built from seemingly broken 3D fundamentals? Or is that basically an anarchist punk aesthetic where you just have to chill about the camera and your civic expectation that it should participate in the charade of solid surroundings? Is the camera deliberately flawed as a parody of itself and as an examination of player expectations of value in AAA game production? Or might it just be a bit of nonsense?

The latter possibility does not hold up much. Too much of Super Kiwi 64 is too polished for it to all be a big mistake: the controls are responsive and fun, the motion gimmick of sticking your mouth against the wall and jumping to climb up (a Mario Odyssey reference?) is Satisfying . On the other hand, the level design is incredibly simple, with red-key-opens-red-door gates and a distinct number of collectibles that are rarely, if at all, well hidden.

However, the defiant simplicity of everything is so mastered that Siactro must certainly do it consciously. The microsecond celebratory pose of the kiwi as he collects a jewel is comically understated compared to Mario’s – now rather exaggerated – spin when collecting a Power Moon. Blink and you’ll miss it, but taken in jest, it’s pitch-perfect. And like the Toree games before it, the sparseness of Super Kiwi 64’s levels is excused by their brevity and very low difficulty. That said, while you could finish the entire game in one to two hours, it holds some really mysterious secrets. Without spoiling, let’s just say they convinced us that the play’s truly cursed vibe wasn’t just in our heads.

Our experience with Super Kiwi 64 boils down to this: we had a good time, but weren’t always sure if it was because of or in spite of the game. Either we found a gold coin in a muddy field, or we found Elvis’ face in our porridge. If you try this, make sure to bring your imagination along with your £2.69.


The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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