KAMI is the latest 3DS puzzler brought to us from the team at CIRCLE Entertainment. They are responsible for publishing the Quell games on the eShop. And developer Flyhigh Works I recognize from Fairune (and other titles). As these are some of my favorite 3DS games as of late, I had reason to be excited for this iOS port.
The game adopts a fill the screen with color premise, similar to Color Zen (which I loved!). It’s a winning if familiar idea. You fold out colored paper and decide which ones to eliminate and the single one that shall remain. It’s easy enough to get a feel for. Unfortunately for KAMI, it does make a few misguided choices along the way. Even if it falls slightly short of expectations though, it’s still not a bad little game.
At 45 puzzles (plus some unlockable ones) there isn’t a huge amount of content here when compared to Color Zen’s hundreds, but the quality is favorable. By way of a broader comparison with other eShop puzzlers, this game puts limits on your outcomes. Others give you a fair amount of freedom, but here things can only end in one of three ways – Perfect!, OK, or Fail! For some, this may be a discouraging barrier to replay. Others will find the difficulty promotes stick-to-itiveness. Personally I feel there are better ways to implement satisfying challenge, while building gameplay to sustain the interest of a broader audience. Still, as I worked my way through dozens of levels, I can’t deny the satisfaction that came from conquering a difficult one and advancing.
KAMI boasts of handcrafted aesthetics, but sadly the visual allure is slightly lost when the focus is mainly on the plain-jane touch screen. The iOS version looks better. The game also lacks any 3D effects, and is burdened with excessive animations. The latter make this an especially slower paced title and, from a practical standpoint at least, there should’ve been an option to skip (or at least speed up) all the fluff. Meanwhile the ‘calming and elegant soundtrack’ translates to just one single tune during gameplay! Why so limited? The best thing I can say about the underwhelming tune is that there is an option to mute it. To avoid the annoyance of repetition, I suggest doing so. At least the paper folding sound effects are done well. Overall the audio-visual package isn’t especially strong, but thankfully such issues don’t impact puzzle games as much as others. The gameplay is what counts most, and it fares better.
At just $2.99 3DS puzzle fans can find worse ways to pass the time than with Kami, but it must be admitted they can find better as well. With no shortage of good to great puzzlers on the eShop (including several from the same publisher) KAMI may find itself remaining further down gamer’s wish lists. It could’ve been more, but it’s still a respectable showing of a winning concept all things considered.
PN Review: KAMI
The execution may leave a bit to be desired, but the gameplay is a winner.