Kick and Fennick is the first game developed by a two-man team from the Netherlands known as Jaywalkers Interactive, with help from developer Abstraction Games – the studio responsible for bringing Hotline Miami and Rogue Legacy to PlayStation platforms. With an interesting partnership developing this game, how does it hold up?
The story of Kick and Fennick follows the adventures of Kick, who, after waking up in a colourful and mysterious world, meets a robot known as Fennick. They’re soon attacked by an enemy, an encounter in which Fennick’s core battery in damaged. This then gives the duo the task to get to the top of the core tower and repair Fennick’s battery.
Kick and Fennick is a platforming game, but the catch here that helps it avoid so many other plaforming game cliches is that there is no jump button – pressing the X button will not help you jump a ledge here, in fact the X button does nothing at all.
Instead of a basic jumping mechanic, Kick is armed with a rifle, yep, a rifle, but this rifle fires Kick into the air when shot in any direction, and this is how he will navigate through the levels in this game. The mechanic starts off difficult to master at first, but after a few attempts you’ll soon get the hang of it.
Aiming the rifle displays a straight line and a bubbly line, the bubbly line is what you want to refer to when aiming to navigate Kick to where you want him to go, the straight line however, is used for shooting enemies, which start to appear upon reaching the second chapter of the game.
The game is split into 5 chapters, the first chapter has 5 levels and the rest have 10, bringing the total to 45 levels. As you can imagine with classic platforming games, this game gradually gets more and more difficult, which helps make this game feel more genuine and in-line with classic games such as Crash Bandicoot.
Throughout each level there are 50 gears to collect, these are normally hidden in special areas of each level, which helps to encourage exploration as you complete each level. Depending on how long you spend in a level along with how many jumps you do in each level earns you a medal at the end of the level. There are four different kinds of medals you can earn, but the Diamond medal is what you want as this helps you unlock new costumes for the duo.
Graphically this game is stunning, It’s clear from the get go that the two-man team from Jaywalkers Interactive have really put time and effort into creating Kick and Fennick, their animations look brilliant and detailed – like they have been designed with the due care and attention that AAA developers would give to their mascots.
The audio has been composed by musicbyjonathan and fits perfectly with the game. In the darker environments the music is quieter and actually gives off a bit of a sinister atmosphere, but where it suits, the audio can be uplifting and quite catchy. As a finished product, Jonathan van den Wijngaarden has done a fantastic job of creating an enjoyable and memorable soundtrack.
The main problem that I have with Kick and Fennick is that it seems to be over so quickly, thankfully the 3 difficulty modes really do have a distance between each other and hard mode will really put you to the test. Elsewhere I found that some jumps were rather difficult to pull off, and developer Jaywalkers Interactive have stated that they promise to make things a little easier for players in a future update to the game.
Kick and Fennick is easily one of the best new IP’s to be exclusive to PlayStation Vita. While it’s not impossible for the game to come to other platforms in the future, Kick and Fennick feels like it belongs on the PlayStation Vita, and hopefully Jaywalkers Interactive plan to branch out and make a sequel, as so much more can be done here.
As a first attempt at making their own game, Jaywalkers Interactive have crafted an excellent platforming game that will certainly raise a few eyebrows. Kick and Fennick is a solid platforming game that really does deserve your attention, and can become quite addictive! Even if you are stuck on a certain part, you’ll constantly want get past any difficulties to see what it throws at you next!