Review: KICK & FENNICK (XB1)

Out today on PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U comes a puzzle-platform game that, in short, is worth a play. Originally released on PS Vita a little over a year ago, Kick & Fennick follows a boy and a robot as they look to escape a laboratory using an overpowered gun...

That's about all I can give you on the story really, as that's all that's given! I'm not even 100% which one is Kick or Fennick (although I could guess given the properties of the gun that Kick is the boy). The two occasionally are antagonized by a giant robot who appears sporadically throughout the game and tries to kill you. I guess given the broadness of the story you can use abstract thinking to flesh out the details, but if you lack imagination this is the game at its roots.

The story may be a bit lacking, but the gameplay is not. While some games in this genre from being difficult in the sense that physics are off or levels are poorly made, this is certainly not the case for Kick & Fennick. I can say with certainty that nothing I ever saw in this game was "impossible", but that's not to say it wasn't challenging or that I didn't fail at least a couple times!

I emphasize a couple times because one of my biggest turn off's when it comes to the puzzle platformer is dying so much the game loses its fun and you're playing "just to be done". Blasting yourself around levels with an oversized gun is quite a joy, and while the mechanic may be a "one trick pony" I found myself the 7-year-old kid on a sugar high that couldn't get enough of it! It's rare that I play a puzzle game and not find myself rage quitting out of frustration, and I did not experience anything like that this go around.

A lot of this is a credit to the mechanics of the game. When aiming your gun (in normal mode) you have a small trajectory path that helps you see where you'll be landing if you propel yourself in that direction. This if furthered aided by a short "slo-mo" period that better aides mid-air aiming and makes you feel like Neo in The Matrix. It makes the game easier, but it also makes you feel like a bad ass zipping around like you're the chosen one!

I also really enjoyed the sound quality of this game! I played with headphones and found the soundtrack, little robot blips, and the flange added to the sound when you go in slow motion super appealing to the ears! It's kind of weird to point out in an interview, but if you play this game coming off the ear Cancer that is Goat Simulator you really appreciate good sound production.

The gameplay can get a bit repetitive as you're constantly dodging electrical arcs the entire game, but there's plenty of fun to be had doing that! There's also a secret in every level that help unlock alternate outfits that are surprisingly cool. Personally I was a big fan of the Evil Kenevil style one as I felt it really fit the tone of blasting around the map.

I won't lie, this game could use some more polish when it comes to aesthetics. It's disheartening when you beat a level that took you a little bit to be taken to the same picture on the level select screen with the words "Level Complete" burning into your eyes. If you watch the trailer above, you've seen 90% of the cutscenes the game has. I'm used to puzzle games being a bit open ended in terms of story, but this game gives you a boy, robot, and a gun. While it really was all I needed, I wanted more and there wasn't anything else to give.

All that said I still highly recommend this game as a fan of the puzzle-platformer. It could be more stylized, yes, but the gameplay is just too damn fun to miss out on for fans of the genre. You'll have a blast blasting around! I would especially recommend picking it up sooner than later as it's currently on discount at $14.99, which more than makes up for the lack of style in my book. Give it a try if you like the genre!