Jun 9, 2014
Kiwanuka is a game about freedom in a mystical world; it challenges players to solve innovative puzzles in the name of helping the people of this realm to discover freedom.
The lead tool in this saga is the lightning staff; the bearer is able to create solutions to physical problems, most of which revolve around leading refugees to a mystical pyramid, which usually has yet another being contained within. So, in essence, getting from point A to point B safely is the name of the game.
The key word is “safely.” The mass of people follow the torch bearer implicitly, and a wrong move can have them all stepping off over a ledge to nothingness. The game graphics define the gameplay to a degree; it is a bright, imaginative affair, with unique crystal structures that serve as platforms and irregular land masses. There are different colors on the land masses, with the darker colors usually being lethal if touched; in other words, guiding the torch bearer to these areas ends the level unsuccessfully, in a splash of exploding crystal.
The player has some tricks to employ, the main one being the ability to use the staff to summon the followers to stack and form a human, end-to-end tower. This tower can be manipulated in different ways, the most obvious being pulled horizontally to form a human bridge which allows the leader and other followers to get from one mass to another. It can also be used to create human ropes to shimmy down, or, at one point, a dissolvable bridge that can drop the leader in a hole where the end pyramid resides. The physics-aspect is well done, with droops and shakes appearing where one would expect them to appear, and a lot of the elements feel logical, even within this mysterious fantasy world.
I felt a bit more could be done with the graphics, but the simplicity mostly works, and the important aspects of the gameplay are sufficiently conveyed. If anything, one will fall in love with the straight-to-the-point action.