Kick & Fennick Review
Kick & Fennick is the latest offering in a crowded group of side-scrolling platformers, but what could have been a very mediocre outing turns out to be a truly unique title thanks to some clever level designs and a gameplay mechanic that never gets old.
Plot wise, there isn’t much going on with Kick & Fennick; you play as Kick, a young boy who wakes up from cryosleep to find a city long deserted and filled with hostile robots. However, one fox like robot Fennick teams up with the boy and they set off to find a replacement battery for Fennick. I can’t help but think there were some missed opportunities to build on the established setting and create a compelling story, thankfully however it is more than made up for with the gameplay.
Kick, armed with a large laser cannon is able to both traverse the more than 40 levels using i’s propulsion and defend himself against various robot foes. There is no traditional jumping ability in this platformer, rather you rely on the arc of the cannons blast to launch Kick through various puzzles. The developers have expertly crafted a gameplay experience that allows the player to learn the unique mechanics of the world while simultaneously bridging in new elements and challenges.
“It’s actually quite ingenious how much mileage the developers get out of one gameplay element.”
This singular ability is first used for traditional platforming, moving from one location to the next, then environmental puzzles start to blend in with deadly electrical beams that require precise timing to leap through. Once the player masters those elements factors like wind, magnets, speed rails, underwater platforming and even portals come into play. It’s actually quite ingenious how much mileage the developers get out of one gameplay element, and it never reaches a point where it feels boring or repetitive.
Fennick’s only contribution to gameplay is acting as a sort of checkpoint, teleporting Kick back to safe zones when he takes damage or falls. There are only so many times Fennick can do this, so collecting the area’s gems help replenish this ability. This becomes surprisingly important, as the difficultly definitely amps up around the halfway mark, with the developers throwing out puzzles requiring precision timing and perfect angles. Having time slow down while aiming is a wise choice, as it becomes crucial in many areas.
Technically the game runs well. Occasionally the camera would get stuck zoomed on Kick making it impossible to see the larger area and the movement required. This issue would normally resolve itself, but still a problem during some critical moments of gameplay, especially during the boss fights that cap off each of the five sections of the game world.
Minor issues aside, Kick & Fennick is a delight. The game offers clever gameplay mechanics and scaling challenges that push the player without punishing them. Jaywalkers Interactive created a solid game around one specific element and found a lot of mileage out of it. Highly recommend picking this one up if you’re tired of the same, standard platforming experience.
*** PS4 code provided by the publisher ***
- Clever Gameplay Mechanics
- Increasingly Challenging
- Well Crafted Puzzles
- Shallow Plot
- Occasional Camera Issues