Kine is a different kind of 3D puzzle game. It combines unique mechanics, music, and increasingly complex puzzles with a story that really helps players engage with the challenges.
When you look at the depth of this game, it's hard to imagine that it was built by just one person, Gwen Frey. Well thought out and beautifully crafted, Kine is a 3D puzzler you won't want to put down.
The entire game is a puzzler with a story at its heart. Three whimsical machines - Quat, a drumkit; Roo, an accordion; and Euler, a trombone - make their way across the city to form a band and play music.
Some levels involve just one character, while later levels will combine two or more together. Each one moves in a slightly different way, requiring you to think a little differently, depending on which musical machine you are controlling.
Each character will tell you more about their interests, goals, and dreams as they journey together across the beautiful cityscape.
One of the best features of this game is how much thought has clearly gone into every little detail. Each level is set against a vibrant cityscape backdrop that perfectly captures a New Orleans musical vibe.
Each musical character makes tuneful noises as they move, adding to the atmosphere created by background music which complements every level.
The story also adds a unique touch with dialogue boxes before each puzzle, in addition to the level titles which build up a surprisingly deep narrative. While not as complex as many tales, it's far more emotive and engaging than I've ever seen in a puzzle game.
Care has been taken at every step to ensure that the game is more than just a puzzler and make it an overall enjoyable experience. Kine makes you really want to help these quirky wannabe musician robots to get over the hurdles they face to achieve their dreams. How often does a puzzle game manage that?
As you progress through the levels, you'll soon realize that what appears to be simple puzzles are in fact more complex than you expected.
Each level takes place on simple looking tile-based boards. You must guide each character around the squares in order to reach the musical-themed goal. There are gaps to traverse, but all the levels have only one way across.
By extending the limbs of the machines to move, you can navigate your way around in order to hit the target. This often involves going backwards and forwards in order to land on the correct square.
Moving reminds me a little of moving knights in chess. Each character can move more than one square, but only in a very specific pattern, which requires thought if you wish to land in a certain spot.
My only qualm was that the movements are not really explained, leaving you to figure out the patterns through trial and error. This did make the earlier levels slightly more challenging than they should have been until I mastered each instrument.
The difficulty ramps up pretty quickly, so if you get frustrated easily, this is something to bear in mind. However, due to the small size of each level, there are only so many moves to make, meaning you can usually figure out the puzzle by trial and error.
Kine is hands down one of the most unique and enjoyable puzzle games I've played in a long time. It contains has everything I'm looking for in a game of this type. It has quirky characters, interesting and unique mechanics, and increasingly challenging puzzles. It also offers beautiful visuals, relaxing music (which I didn't want to immediately mute) and, of course, that simple, but satisfying storyline.
There are also a good number of puzzles and the increasing difficulty will mean this game provides a good number of hours worth of entertainment, depending on how good you are at the puzzles.
If you're looking for an engaging and challenging puzzle game, look no further than Kine. You won't regret it.
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A Switch review code for Kine was provided to TheGamer for this review. Kine is out now for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PC, and soon for Google Stadia.
Helen began playing games at an early age with her first computer being a hand-me-down Sinclair ZX Spectrum. It didn’t put her off… She is all grown up now but is still a gamer at heart, especially when it comes to The Sims and other strategy and simulation games. She juggles the daily demands of life with a family and somehow still finds the time to indulge her two passions in life, writing and gaming; sometimes both at the same time.
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