“3D-Platformer and Collect-a-Thon” games aren’t actually all that abundant on Switch, making Super Kiwi 64 a welcome addition. Teased at the end of Beeny, this forgoes that game’s SNES aesthetic for an N64 look like the earlier Macbat 64. While pretty good (especially for the low price), some rough edges hold it back from its predecessors.
The plot could be better presented, especially if you have yet to play Beeny. You’re trying to collect enough parts for flying off of an island. While story is the least important element for this type of game, I’d have liked to see more consideration for players coming into Super Kiwi 64 with no context. Give me a reason to care about this “bird with a long beak!”
Thankfully the gameplay fares better. The levels can be tackled in any order, and all have various objectives. Your Kiwi is pretty darn versatile too. Besides standard jumping, he can float, fly, and use his beak for platforming. It’s a fun move set to fiddle with, and the tight controls work well.
Be sure to adjust the camera, though. There are seven sensitivities settings, and the default is so sluggish it felt like I spilled coffee in my Joy-con. Meanwhile, most of the higher ones are too fast for their own good. Thankfully I found one that sufficed. As always, I appreciate options, even if most here didn’t land.
The visuals succeed in their aim of looking like an N64 game from the late 90s. Although some levels fare better than others. The opening jungle ones turned out best, with some rich colors and attractive scenery. The desert ones simply can’t please on the same level. The horror levels’ color schemes are more of the garish (purple and pink) variety. And, as usual, the same mummy characters that populate this dev’s other games are scatted throughout. I don’t know what this odd fixation is all about, but this cut-and-paste approach feels disjointed and sloppy.
Speaking of sloppy, I mentioned earlier that this game has rough edges. Perhaps the biggest is the hub. You better 100% each level the first time through, as there’s little indication of what’ve you accomplished if you go back to replay. Again, the objectives are varied, and this is a good thing. But collecting gems and gears, flying through rings, and knocking down bullseye targets are less fun the second time, especially if you discover it was all for naught. Maybe the thought was this game is easy enough that you won’t need to go back. But this is a rookie mistake and more annoying than you might think. It reflects a lack of polish and seems like the sort of thing that could’ve easily been caught with better playtesting. So here’s hoping for a patch.
The music nicely fits the theme of each level. The jungle tune incorporates drums and blends a bouncy sound with that of the unknown, while the horror is more sparse and suspenseful. The pirate levels even have nods to Dragon Roost Island (Wind Waker). It’s a really good audio package with some complexity that I’m grateful for.
Super Kiwi 64 is pretty decent overall and won’t hurt your wallet. That said, despite the many things working in its favor, it has a rough around the edges feel I didn’t expect. A patch may determine if this a game you go back to every so often or if it’s a one-and-done deal.