Danish developers Press Play have a habit of creating games that not only push the boundaries but take the ordinary, stuff it in a blender and create something completely different and unique. The creators of Max: Curse of Brotherhood have constructed an all new 2D puzzle platformer with a twist.
Story: 6.6 out of 10 “Slightly Forgettable”
An Evil Shaman has descended the Island of Kalimba into darkness. This scoundrel has broken the Totem into pieces and spread across the island and the player is tasked to help the Shaman Lady. Trekking the island in search of the broken Totem pieces in order to make it whole again. The story is slightly forgettable but it’s a simple scene setter to give the game enough substance as to not just make random game for the sake of it.
Fear not the game is funky and fun despite the simplistic and uninspiring story. Luckily Kalimba incorporates one of the best game characters of 2014, Hoebear. Hoebear is a sort of guide (dressed like a sort of pimp) who provides mini games to allow the player to practice skills they will need in order to pass upcoming levels. His banter alone makes Hoebear Bear of the Year 2014.
Gameplay: 10 out of 10 “Unique Game Mechanics”
The player must control two different coloured totem pieces simultaneously and separately, steering them through levels that will require sheer brain power and a whole truck load of luck. Guiding these Totems through levels will require some of the easier tasks of jumping over pits of deadly black liquid and matching the colours with the Totems as they can only pass through the same colour as themselves which is where Kalimba can get difficult. Kalimba feels a lot like most platformers that teach you the game mechanics and how to use them readying you for the next level and allowing the player to gain confidence and get comfortable. However Kalimba never lets that happen. You might need to stack the totems, switch their positions, double jump and the situations change every time. No level is overly similar and this makes for a very interesting but difficult time.
Taking into consideration that choosing to stack, switch or whatever is required can be difficult enough but when introduced to match colours with your totems it becomes tough. Match the colours wrong and lose a life and start again, its brutal and frustrating and all the concentration in the world will still require a bit of luck. Reaction times have to be quick since at times you will get time to plan your moves and others the player will have milliseconds to react and adjust.
On completing each level you will be given a Totem piece to add to your Totem Pole. The less lifes you lose the better your Totem pole appears, the more lifes you lose and your Totem pole might just look like a pile of logs.
Music and Sound: 6.5 out of 10 “Happy Hoebear”
Musically the game has a happy go lucky tune that isn’t spectacular but does the trick. What is undoubtly epic though is Hoebear stealing the show again. Sorry if I’m not down with the kids but if I’m correct Hoebear has so much swag, he is the epitome of cool. Enough loving on Hoebear and lets move on.
Graphics: 7 out of 10 “Bright and Cute”
An eruption of colour and cuteness took place when developing Kalimba. The cutesy, cartoony feel to the game is brought to life with loud colours. While the graphics are simple it’s been proven time and time again that you don’t need to have the best and most detailed graphics to make the best game and the main thing is they are effective for this game. Some beautiful detail is present in the Totem pieces venturing around to save the Island from the darkness with their amazing facial expressions. Looking horrified when jumping over deadly gaps, the facial expressions add to the fun factor of the game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Overall: 9.8 out of 10 “Loads of Replayability”
Kalimba is gripping and completing the game might be the initial aim but returning to previous levels to improve your score and the inclusion of 70 pick ups per level it give this game loads of replayabiltiy. Kalimba not only urges you to better your own score but to better others with an all time and friends score board.
Final Score: 8 out of 10 (See what that means here)
Press Play have created another fantastic game, the gameplay mechanics make this game what it is. Using one player to control two characters it first seemed impossible but it works and very well too! The levels are never alike and while Kalimba is a toughy, giving that level another go after failing never feels like a chore. Kalimba is well worth the low price which at the time of reviewing is only $9.99/€9.99/£7.99 and is probably the best Platformer released in 2014.