Review Super Kiwi 64 (2022) (Switch eShop)

Super Kiwi 64 feels like it’s up to something. It has a cunning energy that cannot be ignored. Players of early Siactro games might have expected this, but it’s not just the same. Super Kiwi 64 is strange in its own way, a fresh insight into the mind of this independent developer.

Kiwi opens in a central area that connects eight main levels for a non-linear N64-style item collecting platformer. It looks to be perfectly preserved in glacial ice from the N64 era Silicon Graphics Reality Coprocessor. It could have been released in 1999, copying Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64 equally. However, even then we’d be a little careful as the level of polish doesn’t match those titles. But despite this, it just feels like there is something something strange is going on.

From the very first level, the muddy edges were right in our faces. The camera, for example, has non-intervention attitude to the solidity of objects in the environment and will simply cut through any scenery they like … But there is something continues with this? We naturally used the camera to spy on the walls and see where we should be trying to get to. Was it intended? Are there game mechanics built on apparently broken 3D foundations? Or is it really an anarchic punk aesthetic where you just have to relax because of the camera and your bourgeois expectations that it should participate in the charade of the solid medium? Is the camera deliberately corrupted to parody itself and explore player expectations for value in the production of AAA games? Or maybe it’s just some nonsense?

This last possibility is not very true. Too much of Super Kiwi 64 is too polished for it all to be a big mistake: the controls are responsive and fun, the movement trick of sticking your beak into a wall and jumping to climb up (a reference to Mario Odyssey?) is satisfying. . On the other hand, the level design is incredibly simple, with red-key-opens-red-door gates and a clear count of collectibles that are rarely, if ever, well hidden.

However, the defiant simplicity of everything is so controlled that Siactro probably does it consciously. Kiwi’s microsecond celebratory pose as he collects the gem is ridiculously underrated compared to Mario’s spin – now rather exaggerated – while collecting Power Moon. Blink and you’ll miss it, but if you take it as a joke, it’s perfect. And like previous Toree games, the rarity of Super Kiwi 64’s levels is justified by their brevity and very low difficulty. However, while you can play through the entire game in one to two hours, it does contain a number of really cryptic secrets. Without spoilers, let’s just say they convinced us that the truly cursed atmosphere of the work was not only in our heads.

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

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