Super Kiwi 64 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 07.06.2023

Review for Super Kiwi 64 on Nintendo Switch

SIACTRO is a one-man indie developer with a penchant for retro-inspired 3D platformers. Macbat 64 is a Rare-style Nintendo 64-inspired 3D adventure game. Toree 3D and its sequel are SEGA-inspired, momentum-based 3D platformers, and Beeny is a 2D vertical-platformer that has a visual signature taken from the Donkey Kong Country trilogy. No matter which of SIACTRO's titles are played, gamers will always eventually encounter surprise creepy elements within. The man clearly has a love for creepypastas and the idea of "haunted video games", as shown by his tendency to sneak in hints of spookiness wherever possible. Moreover, SIACTRO's 3D games are always compact, affordable, and have very tight, yet simple, controls. How does Super Kiwi 64 fare? Is it SIACTRO's most ambitious effort yet?

SIACTRO makes his adventures very quickly and designs them to be affordable. Beeny, Toree 3D and its sequel were a dollar each, and gamers could probably beat all three combined within an hour. In that hour, players would have seen and done a lot. Beeny especially would be surprising since getting to the end of it switches the gameplay from a 2D platformer with a bee to a 3D platformer with a kiwi for one level, and a promise of more to come in Super Kiwi 64. Now that Super Kiwi 64 has arrived, what can be expected?

Fans of open-ended 3D platformers from the Nintendo 64 era are going to get a major nostalgia trip with Super Kiwi 64. It is not the most authentic throwback to the 64-bit console; some models are far too rounded, the draw distance is way further than anything possible on the old Nintendo hardware, and the frame rate is a locked 60fps. The spirit is still felt, though, and a lot of it comes down to the character designs and the bizarrely coloured lighting that was seen in a lot of Rare titles like Banjo Kazooie or its sequel.

Screenshot for Super Kiwi 64 on Nintendo Switch

This is a hub-based 3D adventure game with big golden gears to grab and six power gems in each world. Only 40 are necessary to beat the game and leave the island with the dog, but dedicated players will feel compelled to seek out every single one because the aesthetics are appealing, and Kiwi's controls feel good.

Like SIACTRO's prior efforts, Super Kiwi 64 is a short game. It does manage to be more substantial than anything else he's ever released, but don't expect this to last more than an hour and a half. It is probably the most impressive three-dollar game anyone can ever buy.

As expected from a throwback to Nintendo 64 3D platformers, Super Kiwi 64 opens with the hero exploring a hub world. Kiwi is a humble little character who may have a very simple and limited set of moves, but he makes up for it by having tight and responsive controls. He is a flightless bird who is able to get some impressive airtime thanks to his backpack that has propellers and wings that pop out that allow him to glide long distances. Furthermore, Kiwi also has a Kazooie-style dive beak attack that can make him stick into walls where he can infinitely climb almost any surface, as well as use it to attack.

Screenshot for Super Kiwi 64 on Nintendo Switch

Attacking in Super Kiwi 64 is almost pointless since there is only one enemy type, and it is hardly used and barely effective at hurting Kiwi. He gets four hits before he dies and gets kicked out of the level, but even then, it's still generous. There are hardly any deathly pits to fall into. The one enemy type is depressingly slow and has the aggression of a tired snail. The true purpose of the dive-beak in Super Kiwi 64 is to gain a bit of extra distance while gliding, because maintaining momentum while exploring is a large reason why the game feels good to play.

Super Kiwi 64 wouldn't be like a Nintendo 64 collect-a-thon without collectibles. Each of the eight levels has six power stones to acquire. These can be as simple to get as finding them lying around or might demand a little old-school 64-bit thinking, like hitting all targets or activating some esoteric switch. There is also jumping through the rings, finding the keys to open a thing, or finding every golden gear in the level. It's very easy to get everything, but even then, gamers only need to get 40 out of the total 49 to see the ending.

Screenshot for Super Kiwi 64 on Nintendo Switch

The main draw of Super Kiwi 64 is its light and breezy gameplay and level design that is firmly rooted in Nintendo 64 nostalgia. There are some moments where it really does feel like this is a lost Rare project that would have been shown in the mid 90s. Many areas have an aura that evokes the feeling of seeing poorly shot photos of beta Nintendo 64 games in magazines - the kind of games that never got released or got substantial revisions in development.

There is no reviewing a SIACTRO release without mentioning some of its cursed characteristics. At first glance, Super Kiwi 64 does make for a convincing Rare 3D platformer. It has a goofy looking animal with googly eyes and character dialogue is written with a very similar font and typesetting as seen in Banjo Kazooie. Then suddenly a player will stumble upon a level with a nightmarish looking creature sitting in the centre of a massive room and there are 2D graphics that resemble foetuses, or climbing up a tower in a desert level and at the top are impaled corpses.

What makes Super Kiwi 64 so unsettling is the complete lack of attention given to these elements. The one character who speaks is a dog who flies a plane, and he never says anything about it or makes any references to anything that could be considered creepy. The horror or disturbing elements are effective because there is so little attention given to them. There are no cutscenes that emphasise anything, and the music has a similar ambiance to the kind of whimsy that fans would expect from Grant Kirkhope.

Screenshot for Super Kiwi 64 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Like past SIACTRO titles, Super Kiwi 64 does have a lot of secrets and even has a password mechanic where players can play with other skins if they find the codes hidden in the levels. It isn't a deep game and, as mentioned earlier, it is over in about an hour. However, Super Kiwi 64 is a very pleasant and cathartic experience for anyone who grew up playing Nintendo 64 or for children who are learning to play 3D games. There are not too many obstacles, most threats aren't threatening, and Kiwi's mobility and tight controls make him manageable for neophytes.

Developer

Siactro

Publisher

Diplodocus Games

Genre

3D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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