Kite (PC) Review

By Athanasios 28.03.2018

Review for Kite on PC

For better or for worse (maybe for worse), the '80s are all the rage nowadays. From the upcoming Spielberg "epic," Ready Player One, to, well, every second indie videogame produced, the world is filled to the brim with bright neon colours, synthwave chiptunes, and pixels; lots and lots of pixels. Nostalgia has always been a force to be reckoned with - the problems begin when something becomes a trend, and cares more about flash than substance. Thankfully, there are titles like Kite out there; titles that don't just capitalise on what's currently popular but, instead, impressively capture the essence of the era they were inspired from, although the end result is far from perfect.

Kite is an isometric twin-stick shooter, with a level of challenge that is very... 16-bit, something that can also be said about its audio-visuals, as its pixely, sci-fi world and the tunes that play along with the action feel like something that came straight out of a Mega Drive (or MS-DOS), as it gives some pretty strong Chaos Engine and Zombies Ate My Neighbours vibes. The good news is that this is not content with only looking old-school. Instead, the gameplay portion is imbued with some pretty neat modern mechanics that add lots of depth to it all.

Screenshot for Kite on PC

As expected, Mags, the cyborg lady who will brave the bot-filled levels, can run around and aim at all directions. Moreover, she dual-wields, thus can mix and match weaponry (of which there is an impressively diverse variety to craft), and even toggle between different "sets" on the go. Even better, she is able to enter a super speed mode, or slow down time for everybody else, with both abilities being almost a necessity here.

The army of robots, as well as the giant turrets that frequently make this feel like a bullet hell experience, can many times overwhelm the otherwise pretty versatile heroine, especially after a couple of levels. The thing is that, although definitely a game of skill, most will find it impossible to be victorious with accurate aiming and fast movement alone, as Kite requires a little bit of grind in order to gather the necessary components to upgrade gear.

Screenshot for Kite on PC

By saving scientists, new weapons can be unlocked to craft, and besides that there's also a relatively in-depth skill tree available that enables enhancing Mags' passive abilities. As mentioned before, however, replaying stages (and destroying everything that can be destroyed to gather scrap) is imperative as, when it comes to the level of challenge, this doesn't pull any punches. Moving deeper into this, the levels soon begin to have more than just a couple of enemies, spiky traps, and the enormous turrets that can turn this into a bullet hell experience. This is basically a top-down, twin-stick version of good 'ol Contra.

Screenshot for Kite on PC

Unfortunately, the constant flood of enemies can soon end up being more annoying and/or repetitive than exciting. Apart from the fact that the player will usually be overwhelmed, and thus have to do some upgrading in order to do better next time, the bots are old-school-esque simpletons that don't really have many differences between them. This is quite a shame as the fast-paced action itself is adrenaline-pumping and pleasantly tough, but, sadly, that's never enough.

In the end, this is a passion project that will mainly appeal to those who have an equal passion for the nostalgia hit this will give them. It's not a bad game - not by a long shot - but it's also far from a great one. It's decent at what it does, however, it's the straight-from-the-16-bit-era audio-visuals that are the highlight here, not the gameplay... and, to be honest, the pixel art, while great, has turned out to be a bit tiring for the eyes of this old timer, due to the severe lack of "depth" and contrast.

Screenshot for Kite on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

If Kite had been released in the early '90s it would be one of the biggest hits of the time. This is 2018, however, and nostalgia, while a strong marketing tool, is not enough. Sure, the action is fast and relentless, and it's a pleasure to use the many weapons at hand to wreak some havoc. Unfortunately, it all becomes repetitive too soon, even if you take the grinding for upgrades out of the picture.

Developer

Lab Cat Games

Publisher

Lab Cat Games

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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