Super Kiwi 64 (2022) Review (Switch eShop)

Super Kiwi 64 feels like it’s there. There is a tricky energy about it that is impossible to ignore. Players from Siactro’s previous games may be expecting that, but this is just more of the same. Super Kiwi 64 is weird in its own special way, featuring a new guided tour from the mind of this indie developer.

Kiwi opens in a hub area that connects eight main levels for N64-style non-linear item-collection platforming. It seems to have been perfectly preserved in glacial ice since the days of Silicon Graphics Reality Coprocessor of N64. It could have been released in 1999, copycatting the same Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong 64. Even back then, though, we’d have been a bit wary, since the Polish level was not up with that title. But even so, it just feels like it’s there it happened – something strange.

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From the first level, the messy edges were right in our face. Cameras, for example, have a Laissez faire attitude to the solidity of objects in the environment and will happily just clip through all the scenery you like… But one thing place and that? We naturally use the camera to spy through the wall and see where we should try to. Is this by design? Are there game mechanics built from a broken 3D base? Or is it actually an anarchist punk aesthetic where you should just chill out about the camera and your bourgeois expectations that you have to participate in the charade of the dense environment? This camera is intentionally flawed as a parody of itself and a test of the player’s expectations of value in the production of AAA games? Or can it, maybe, just be a little trash?

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That last possibility doesn’t hold up very well. Too much of Super Kiwi 64 is too polished for everything just to be a big mistake: the controls are responsive and fun, the movement gimmick of spiking your beak into walls and jumping up (Mario Odyssey reference?) is satisfying. . On the other hand, the level design is incredibly simple, with red-key-open-red-door gating and a clear tally of collectibles that are rarely hidden well, if at all.

However, the defiant simplicity of everything is so controlled that Siactro must do it consciously. The kiwi’s microsecond celebratory pose while collecting gems is hilariously under-sold compared to Mario’s – now slightly overblown – twirl while collecting Power Moon. Blink and you’ll miss it but, taken as a joke, it’s perfect. And like Toree’s games before it, most of Super Kiwi 64’s levels are redeemed by their brevity and extremely low difficulty. That said, while you can finish the entire game in one-to-two hours, it has a set of genuinely mysterious secrets buried in it. Without spoiling, let’s say they believe us that the actual cursed vibe of the piece is not only in our heads.

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Our experience of Super Kiwi 64 boils down to this: we had a great time, but can’t tell if it was despite the game or because of it. Either we find a gold coin in a muddy field or we find Elvis’ face in our porridge. If you’re going to try this, be sure to bring your imagination and your £2.69.



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