Review – Kick & Fennick (PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii U)

One thing that comes to mind with this title is ‘Bionic Commando with a Gun’. It is strange opening this review with that statement, but hear me out. This 2.5D Action-Platformer has you playing as young boy named Kick and his little robot buddy Fennick as you explore the world around you, trying to find the core that will fix your robot buddy Fennick.

This released on the PS Vita in February 2015 and going to release this week on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Wii U platforms. Lets take a look into this title and for the purposes of this review, I will be looking at the PS Vita version of the game, touching upon the different versions during the review.


Gameplay

The game controls are very simple, with you having the ability to shoot your gun win any direction with the right analog stick (or touch screen on the Vita and Wii U GamePad) and using the right trigger/shoulder button to shoot.

With this set-up, you would think combat would be a major focus but that is not the case. Kick holds the giant gun he carries behind him, giving him the ability to shoot at the ground for a arced jump.

This is where the Bionic Commando comparison comes into play, as that game had you play as Nathan Rad Spencer and using your bionic arm to interact with the world but not having the ability to jump to compensate for the arm.

That is the case here, with Kick not jumping but using his gun to launch into the sky. You also have the ability to shoot again in the air with the gun in any direction and the game goes into slow motion when you aim your gun; it gives you greater control of your aim and is very responsive.

You also do not have a life system, having instead tries you can use x amount of times before you have to start over again. That is a smart design choice, allowing level design to be more complex as the game goes on.

Levels are open and have a lot light orbs to collect. They can unlock different skins for Kick to wear and you have access to an upgraded version of your gun at specific points in the level that gives you further distance when shooting it.

Most combat encounters are simple, with you shooting by aiming the right stick and pressing the shoot button but with the slow motion aiming and responsive controls, the game feels like a dream to play.


Controls

The games controls are responsive thanks to the games locked frame rate and slow-motion activated when aiming. The Right Stick is very responsive with little latency or delay. Shooting your gun feels responsive, as the game has a lot of weight to your movement.

Controlling the gun in the air is responsive too, as again, the slow motion aiming works very well.


Presentation/Performance

The games art direction for the main characters is a bit off, more so with Kick but otherwise, the game looks fantastic. Bright colors and very clear textures make exploring the games world pleasing to the eyes. Robot designs are a bit generic but they have reflections and match the games world well.

Animation is where the game shines the brightest however, with every cut-scene having really well done animation for Kick and Fennick. You want to root for the characters thanks to how lively they move around and how they sound. I enjoyed Fennick’s sound effects a lot, as it reminded me of WALL-E to a degree.

The game’s performance is strong on all platforms. It is a locked 30FPS on PS Vita with the PS4 and Wii U versions likely running at either a locked 30FPS or 60FPS. The game never dips below its target frame rate and this allows the platforming to be tight and responsive.


Replay Value

The game lasts about 5-7 hours on your initial run through the game but you can replay stages after you beat them for better times, play on higher difficulties, and to get all the costumes for Kick. It is a very solid length for a 2D Action-Platformer I feel.


Kick and Fennick is a surprising title, as it feels so fresh with how you use Kick’s gun. Very few games use weaponry to assist with platforming, so this game having a fun, inventive mechanic out of Kick’s big gun is rewarding and enjoyable.

Levels are great, visually it looks strong and the game’s core gameplay is very rewarding. I highly recommend you give the game a shot and it will be coming out on the Xbox One & Nintendo Wii U E-Shop May 3rd, with it releasing on the PlayStation 4 today. It is currently out on the PlayStation Vita in North America and Europe.

Rating

Story: 4 out of 5

Gameplay: 4.5 out of 5

Presentation: 4.5 out of 5

Replay Value: 4 out of 5

Overall: 4.5

 

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