Developer: Nibb Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Genre(s): Puzzle, Platformer
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on Xbox and PlayStation)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 21/01/2022
A code was provided for review purposes
Will Lightning Strike?
Kinduo is a puzzle platformer that focuses on creating levels suitable for two people. Both a lightning bolt and a rock (the controllable characters) needed to reach a door at the end of every level. Did this dynamic duo find a place in my heart? Find out in this Rapid Review.
The first thing I was shown after starting the title was a brief comic showing two characters, a lightning bolt and a rock trying to get home. It was simple and straight to the point. Though this addition did not add to my experience, it set up a reasonable pretext for the title to begin. Moreover, considering the budget price and simplistic style, I was not overwhelmingly disappointed by Kinduo’s lack of story content.
Though I did not enjoy the story content, I was hopeful that the gameplay would be more exciting. Unfortunately, I was immediately disappointed. Despite having two different characters to play as, the gameplay still got stale. Plus, many of the same assets were reused throughout the thirty levels, meaning the levels did not feel distinct. Even the three different themes did not revolutionize the experience as the gameplay remained the same regardless. In each level, I raised platforms, unlocked locked doors, and raised barricades. Many puzzle-platformers share the same assets, and many do other things to stand out too. Without interesting elements, Kinduo pales in comparison.
Rocky Character Design
My disappointment did not stop there though. The characters themselves did not have interesting movement which made many levels tedious to complete. The first thing I noticed was how slow the movements in the game were. While the lightning character was fast enough to maintain my tempo, pushing a box with the rock was incredibly tedious. It completely slowed down my pacing. Moreover, as the lightning character, I needed to raise and lower platforms. These were also slow, so I consistently had to wait for them to be realigned. I always felt like I could complete the puzzles faster than the movement would allow which made the game feel frustrating to play.
This was further expanded upon by how easy the puzzles are. As someone who rarely plays puzzle games, I had no issues solving most of the puzzles on my first try. The lack of challenge made me realize time and time again how tedious it was to begin moving the pieces into place and how repetitive the game quickly became.
Though many of the puzzles failed to maintain my interest, I did enjoy the consistency of the mechanics. Once I learned how an item worked, it functioned exactly like that throughout the playthrough. Plus, I did not encounter any bugs or glitches whatsoever throughout my playthrough. While many of the functions in the game left me disappointed, the game ran wonderfully on Nintendo Switch.
Spacing Out New Content
Another thing I noticed while playing the game was how little the levels fluctuated from one stage to the next. Since the characters were basic and there were only a handful of different assets, none of the puzzles required alternative ways to view the mechanics. At the same time, the mechanics were introduced painfully slowly. Simple concepts were slowly taught over multiple levels. While this is not necessarily bad in a vacuum, the lack of spontaneous ideas and assets made an already small catalogue of levels seem redundant.
Additionally, the music and sound effects similarly did not leave a positive taste in my mouth. The music was nothing I found myself humming, but it was serviceable. I cannot recommend the Kinduo soundtrack, but I also had no objections to it while I was playing. On the other hand, the sound effects were not enjoyable. When a character walked, they made loud audible footsteps that both seemed out of place and disrupted my experience. Moreover, when I died, the characters would scream in a high pitch, once again startling me and bringing me out of the experience.
While the sound design did not resonate with me, I did like the pixel art visuals. Each asset was clearly telegraphed, the puzzles were always comprehensible, and the characters were cute. I did not find the visual style enticing enough to warrant a purchase, but I do think it is a positive for the game.
Overall, I was disappointed by Kinduo. The short runtime combined with the forgettable gameplay did not leave me eager to recommend this title. While there are some interesting concepts here, I think there are far better titles to check out such as Aspire: Ina’s Tale or Anodyne 2.
Rapid Reviews Rating
2.5 out of 5
You can purchase Kinduo on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.