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Ivy the Kiwi?

by Aaron Kaluszka - August 24, 2010, 9:41 am EDT
Total comments: 16

Prope brings an inventive gameplay mechanic to accompany their storybook setting.

Yuji Naka's latest game, the oddly-punctuated Ivy the Kiwi?, begins with an egg falling out of the sky into a forest.  Ivy, a red bird, partially hatches from the egg, realizes that her mother is nowhere to be seen, and sets out to find her.  Players must guide Ivy in her quest.  Backed by an upbeat soundtrack, Ivy the Kiwi? features a very distinctive art style, emulating pencil-drawn and woodblock-printed storybooks of the past.

Much like its art style, the game uses a unique control scheme similar in nature to the one found in Kirby's Canvas Curse.  Instead of controlling Ivy directly, players draw vines in the two-dimensional world using the Wii Remote pointer, which Ivy can walk across.  In their absence, Ivy continually walks forward, reversing direction when coming upon a wall.  These linear vines are anchored at one point, and can be stretched and spun around until their second point is anchored.  Up to four vines may be placed at a time, and they can also be stretched like rubber bands to slingshot Ivy through obstacles.

Ivy the Kiwi? begins easy, only requiring players to help the bird over some large blocks, but quickly introduces a variety of hazards such as spikes, pits, and a whole cast of enemies.  While the controls are unconventional, they are quickly mastered.  Players will soon find themselves quickly flinging vine after vine, propelling Ivy to her goal through increasingly-labyrinthine levels.  Though the game can be taken at a slower pace, attempting to complete levels quickly makes the game very fun and engaging.  

Throughout the stages, a number of bonus feathers are strewn about, providing an additional challenge for completionists.  The game also keeps track of best scores and times for each level, challenging players to best themselves.  Once reached in story mode, levels can be practiced at leisure.

The game also includes a crazy multiplayer mode: up to four players can play simultaneously on a split screen, racing to reach the goal.  Not only can players draw vines on their own sub-screen, but they can also draw vines on others' screens in an attempt to impede their competitors' progress, resulting in frantic competition.

Ivy the Kiwi? couples a distinctive charm with a unique, but surprisingly fun and intuitive game mechanic in a way that is strangely effective.  The retail versions include over 100 levels and are available for Wii and DS, while the downloadable versions include 50 levels.

Talkback

UltimatePartyBearAugust 24, 2010

The artsy graphics are certainly pretty, but they're also pretty low contrast, at least in the screenshots.  Is it easier to see what's going on when it's in motion?

Yes.  I had the same concerns going in, but it works quite well in motion.  Even the static components of the scenery have motion, and a blur effect around the edges focuses your attention to the center of the screen.

Killer_Man_JaroTom Malina, Associate Editor (Europe)August 24, 2010

I've not been following Ivy the Kiwi? (by the way, what's with that question mark in the title?), but this seems to be a really cool design concept. If it can sustain momentum over these 100 levels regardless of its simplicity, it could be the sleeper hit on Nintendo platforms this year.


There is slight reason for concern for the European release though. For whatever reason, Sega has not taken an interest in Ivy the Kiwi?, despite it being the brainchild of Yuji Naka. I mean, this is no more than quirky than Let's Tap, Prope's previous project, which Sega did publish. I know XSEED is publishing in North America, but it doesn't look like there's a publisher at the moment in Europe. I hope someone will pick it up; perhaps Rising Star, who often run parallel with XSEED. I wouldn't want the PAL regions to miss out.

Looks fun but did they need to surround every level with bricks? It seems.. stifling.

Mop it upAugust 24, 2010

This game is looking good. There are too few puzzle games these days, especially outside of Tetris, which isn't much of a puzzle when you think about it. It's the genre which I feel has been explored the least; we've barely even seen any in 3D.

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

I've not been following Ivy the Kiwi? (by the way, what's with that question mark in the title?),

Not only that, but the character is a bird. Unless, is a kiwi also a type of bird?

TJ SpykeAugust 24, 2010

Yes, a kiwi is a flightless bird from New Zealand (which is why their sports teams are nicknamed the Kiwis and why the character in the game can't fly). I have been following the game since Prope first announced it as a Windows Mobile games. It looks OK.

There's a demo on Nintendo Channel, which I didn't like much. Seems like a neat idea, but the controls are frustrating.

DS version?

TJ SpykeAugust 25, 2010

I guess I am one of the few people who actually followed this game. Yes, there is both a Wii and DS version. There will also be smaller versions (with fewer modes and levels) released on WiiWare and DSiWare.

I sure wish there was some way to make people read our articles before commenting on them.

Mop it upAugust 25, 2010

Can you make people sit on the page for a few minutes before the ability to comment comes up?

PaleMike Gamin, Contributing EditorAugust 25, 2010

I haven't been following this game at all, but we received our review copy today and the art style and odd title got me to go to the site and click on Aaron's impressions. :)


Actual game doesn't sound quite as interesting as I'd hoped.  I guess I was just craving a more traditional platformer.


It will be interesting to see how this 'multi-platform' release plan will pan out.  Small scale game concept being release in retail on two systems, and then again digitally with fewer levels?  Intriguing.

MoronSonOfBoronGarnet Red, Contributing WriterAugust 25, 2010

They must have a really good way to scale everything between different platforms. Normally this strategy would make sense when spanning different market libraries (360, PS3), but an attempt to cast a wide net just within Nintendo's ocean is... "innovative".

And how many Windows Mobile games get turned into console games?  I imagine very few.

TJ SpykeAugust 25, 2010

It's not like there are many Windows Mobile games anyways.

Quote from: Killer_Man_Jaro

I know XSEED is publishing in North America, but it doesn't look like there's a publisher at the moment in Europe. I hope someone will pick it up; perhaps Rising Star, who often run parallel with XSEED. I wouldn't want the PAL regions to miss out.

Yes, Rising Star is publishing the game in Europe (and Bandai Namco published it in Japan).

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Ivy the Kiwi? Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Prope
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Ivy the Kiwi?
Release Aug 24, 2010
PublisherXseed Games
RatingEveryone

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