Kona’s Crate Review

Kona’s Crate Review

Aug 18, 2011

For anyone who’s ever shopped online and found themselves gazing longingly at their front porch or mailbox, wondering, “Where’s my package? Where could it be?” to the point of near-psychosis, now’s your turn to be on the other side of that scenario. As Chief Kona’s delivery person, your mission is to pilot a rocket-powered platform carrying Kona’s crate through a twisting obstacle course filled with hazards and dangers untold. Get Chief Kona his crate under a set time, and you’ll earn yourself 3 stars for the effort.

The premise is about as wacky as you can get, and as much as the theme and setting are completely “out there,” it makes for a much better experience than, say, a generic, physics-based game set in the empty void of space, or among soulless, geometric shapes. Of course, that’s until you allow your mind to wander towards some darker, “Se7en” inspired territory as you wonder, “What’s in the box?” It’s probably better that we don’t know.

Controlling the platform is easily accomplished by tapping either side of the screen. Getting it where you want it to go, however, can be a hair-tearing experience. Touching the left side fires the left rocket while the ride side fires the right rocket. Touch both sides and each rocket fires at the same time, giving you maximum thrust. Once you become proficient with the finer intricacies of moving the platform around, you’ll find yourself capable of doing flips, rolls and quick directional changes without dumping the crate, which is extremely easy to do. Dump the crate, and the level is pretty much failed, because there’s no way to pick it back up.

Where the game gets especially tricky is when you accidentally nudge the crate slightly to one side of the platform. Suddenly, you’ll find that the platform becomes incredibly unstable, tipping easily and near-impossible to control. What a sense of accomplishment you’ll feel if you can actually get it to its destination, though!

There isn’t too much to complain about in Kona’s Crate, except that it can get a bit tedious. Depending on your stamina, you might not want to deal with more than 85 levels of nail-biting stress and frustration. Odds are, though, you will. You’ll be compelled to keep trying long after you might think you’re done with the game. It definitely hits that, “Just one more try, I’m sure I’ll get it this time!” spot.

One nice touch is that the environment changes slightly as you progress through each of the 4 “worlds” (plus one world of bonus stages). You’ll notice that each has its own theme, such as “Sunny Skies,” “Dusk,” “Starlight” and “Stormy Skies.” As you might guess, the lighting and background changes in each theme to reflect the time of day and environmental conditions. It makes for some diversity.

Throw in the extra challenge of OpenFeint achievements and the promise of more levels to come and you’ll find that there’s plenty to do in this game. Now, if we could just get Chief Kona to stop ordering so much stuff, online. Seriously, what’s in the box?


Kona’s Crate Review Rundown

10
Graphics/Sound - Stunningly beautiful graphics, smooth animations and colorful visuals. Good music, too. Excellent use of the theme in each world.
8
Controls - It's hard to say anything negative about the controls when you can't be sure if the weirdness you're experiencing is part of a physics-based game or if there's a definite problem. Still, the controls worked well-enough, and mostly as expected.
8
Gameplay - The gameplay is extremely compelling in that you don't want to give up until you just can't take it anymore. Even so, I have the suspicion that the game is going to be divisive between those who think it's just too hard and those who love it for being as challenging as it is.
10
Replay Value - There are a lot of levels here, so you'll be playing for awhile. In addition, you have achievements to unlock, best times to beat and all of your Facebook friends to compete against. Assuming you don't just get extremely ticked off after the first few levels and decide to never play it again, you're going to have a lot of fun trying to complete every level with 3 stars and unlock all the achievements.
9
Overall - A beautiful game with a great, wacky premise that is about as frustrating as it is fun. All in all, just a well put-together game that offers something pretty unusual. Definitely worth picking up.

App available on the Google Play Store »

Demo version is also available on the Google Play Store »

Dale Culp
Dale Culp has been writing about video games in print and on the web for the better part of the last 10 years. From the Atari 2600 to the Xbox 360 and beyond, he's covered just about everything. You'll find his work in places such as TheWeekender.com, GoLackawanna.com, Gamesylvania.com, EscapistMagazine.com and even IGN.com
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