KITE is an isometric style shooter. Following the same sort of gameplay as the likes of Hotline Miami with almost as equally awesome soundtrack, this is one indie game you don’t want to miss. Do you enjoy shooting robots? Do you enjoy crazy synthesised music that feels like it is straight from the 80s? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then this is the game for you. And, even if you didn’t, sit tight because you might be surprised. This fantastic new indie game just exploded out of early access and it definitely worth your time of day. So, buckle up kids, this is going to be one hell of a ride.
You play as Mags, the Human Operated Remote Droid (H.O.R.D for short). The world has found a rather odd peace with itself, deciding to combine technology and nature to unite the world. Unfortunately, all is not right. There are still people who would still enjoy watching the world burn. So, naturally, after all hell breaks loose, you are tasked with shutting down the rogue robots and saving the day of course. And by shut down, I mean blow to pieces. And by save the day, I mean blow everything else to pieces. Along the way, you need to save as many scientists as you can (mostly for selfish and gameplay reasons but I’ll get to that). Your mission, should you wish to accept it, is to stop the bad guy from getting away and put the world right again. Easy-peasy.
The story for KITE is actually quite a fun little one. It doesn’t take away from the fun of the gameplay and it adds in some neat characters with mildly amusing dialogue. Mags is bad-ass as hell and quite honestly, I can’t really see a fault with it. There’s no deep meaning behind it like Hotline Miami, and it certainly ain’t no Last of Us (which is a weird reference to make I know but it has a strong story line). But, this game delivers what it needs to at just the right amount. Like a nice glass of milk and a cookie – if you like that sort of thing.
KITE for all intents and purposes is a twin-stick shooter. You can also play it with a mouse and keyboard just as effectively though. I think either works, it just really depends on your play style. Anyway, its simple: you run through each level and shoot down as much stuff as you can. Robots, junk, nature, you name it, you shoot it. Unless its a scientist in which case you need to not shoot them. Everything you destroy adds points to your score and based on your score at the end of the level, you get a grade from C, B, A and S. S of course being the best.
Now, there are mini objectives you have to complete in order to finish the level completely. As well as saving scientist, you will also be tasked with blowing up specific things like shield generators or power supplies. Once these are all down and you saved everyone, you can leave. The quicker you do it, the better your score. This is why I likened it to Hotline Miami but there are a plethora of other games that follow this game style. Anyway, my point is it is simple and actually really fun as well. So, juicy bonus!
You can also customise your weaponry and armour to some degree. As you go around blowing up robots, you will pick up scrap. This scrap (along with however many scientists you recruit) depends on what gear you can craft. From the starting basics to some awesome end level stuff. All of which will help you to be a better android. Or whatever you are. I haven’t yet figured that out. Regardless, its a cool feature. And a simple one: collect scrap, build stuff. There is only a set amount of things you can craft in each tier though which is unfortunate. It would have been nice to see more options but still, I liked the feature.
With your weapons you can outfit yourself with two sets before going into a mission. Of course, you can customise these depending on your play style but honestly, I just went with the highest DPS and damage. Seemed to do the trick. But, you can also use melee and snipers. Add to this the fact that you get skill points to put into different trees and you basically have an RPG on your hands. But, not once does it feel overwhelming. The UI is simple to use and you quickly learn how you want to play. Give yourself more health and stamina or deal loads of damage or be quick on your feet. It’s up to you!
Controls, Sound and Graphics
So, for those of you that don’t enjoy pixel graphics, you may want to steer clear. But, for those of you that are like me, you will love it. The point of this game is to feel retro, taking on that 80’s look alongside the synthesised soundtrack and the neon colour scheme, it all fits so perfectly. Especially within the sci-fi setting. When I opened up the game for the first time and heard the soundtrack I was instantly hooked. I knew I was going to love it.
Finally, I wanted to talk about the controls. There are two play styles for KITE as I mentioned previously: mouse and keyboard or a controller. Honestly, I suck with a controller, so I wanted to play old school (at least for me it is). And, it controlled beautifully. It’s not quite as fast paced as Hotline Miami, and you certainly don’t die as much but that’s a good thing. I presume playing with a controller would be just as good since I’m pretty sure it is meant to be played this way. Either way, it plays well and that’s all that matters to me.
I really enjoyed playing KITE. It’s a great game and its a lot of fun. It doesn’t want to make your rip your hair out like some games in this genre can. It was a little frustrating at times when I couldn’t beat a boss or find the last power generator. But, once I learned my way around the maps it was super fun. I honestly think that people will love to play this game. It doesn’t bring anything new to the table but it is so inoffensive that it would be offensive to hate it. Seriously guys, just go play it and see for yourself.
KITE is available on Steam right now – go reek some havoc!