Wednesday, March 11, 2015

KAMI (3DS eShop) Review

While I focused on the bad earlier with Bad Levels in Gaming History, let's focus on the good with this next game. It's definitely a Zen-like experience that decidedly isn't for everyone. However, if you like a relaxing puzzler with some origami roots, then KAMI might just be an affordable downloadable title for you on the Nintendo 3DS eShop.

Zen is in.


At its birth, KAMI was a mobile game designed by State of Play. Now, their title has been ported over to the Nintendo 3DS with the help of CIRCLE Entertainment and Flyhigh Works. Offering the same amount of simplicity, and intentionally so to give its players a feeling of achieving Zen, KAMI isn't a game for everyone. However, for those that step into the fold, they will find a relaxing paper-based puzzle game to enjoy.

KAMI's focus is on puzzles that are identically displayed on the top and bottom screens, made up of different colors and patterns of origami paper. The goal is to use the three or four colors of paper provided to you on the bottom of the screen to fill in the puzzle so that at the conclusion of your work you have a screen full of just one color. This is performed by tapping the bottom screen for the piece of colored paper you desire and then tapping a space on the puzzle itself to fill it with color.

However, it isn't as simple as all that. Not only must you decide which color will completely take over the screen at the end of the puzzle, but you have only a finite number of moves to solve each papercraft conundrum. It behooves you to plan carefully. While the puzzles won't have you slamming your fists in frustration, they will have your fingers slowly stroking your chin as you ponder the solutions to each puzzle. Even if you make a mistake, you can tap the undo button to resolve it in an instant.

Despite what might be perceived as a modest collection of puzzles, KAMI will last players a good while, especially if they try to beat each puzzle while fulfilling the gold requirement (i.e. beating a puzzle in the least amount of moves). You unlock new sets of nine puzzles after clearing each one that proceeds it. There are 45 puzzles in the Classic Puzzles category to complete, and when those are taken care of, KAMI throws at you challenges meant solely for experts at the game. As you finish off puzzles of one type, different patterned pieces of paper and colored pieces of paper are introduced to keep the experience fresh and challenging. 

KAMI itself is a very relaxing puzzle game, and that stretches out into its presentation. The menus are simple in presentation. There is but one track in the entire game that plays throughout the menus and as you progress through the puzzles. It might seem like the developers forgot to make KAMI exciting to all players, but instead, the developers achieved a truly Zen experience. That's definitely something to applaud, even if it isn't wholly appreciated by everyone. 

While it's no game for adrenaline junkies, KAMI is a fantastic game to relax to that never gets annoying to play. Sure, you'll come to spots where you'll be murmuring to yourself in confusion as to how to turn every piece of patterned paper into the same color, but you'll never be cursing the origami gods. It's a short experience, but for the price, KAMI is an artful papercraft puzzler to get your Zen on to. 

[SPC Says: C+]

Review copy provided by CIRCLE Entertainment.

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