Review: Kick & Fennick
Posted 23 Jun 2016 at 23:50 by Joshua Phillips
Join a cute kid and even cuter robot on a run and gun adventure like no other.
Kick and Fennick opens in what seems like a post-apocalyptic world (or at the very least, an abandoned city full of evil robots) and has you shooting down those pesky machines with a giant gun whilst elegantly flying through the sky, building to building, thanks to the massive recoil from your blaster.
With 45 levels on offer, you have to traverse this big city, collecting gears and navigating these dangerous maze-like buildings to find a new light bulb for your injured robot friend Fennick.
Blessed with a giant gun, our young hero Kick has to run along and kill robots before they kill him, but there’s a huge twist, that gun is not just for shooting – in fact, you’ll be using it for airborne jumping far more than actual destruction.
Aiming with the right stick you’ll be presented with two lines, one either side of Kick, a straight line indicating where your shot will go and a dotted line the other side showing where it will send Kick flying towards. Shooting once in your desired direction will send you flying mid-air, and you can aim again, slowing down time, to fly in another direction from a second shot whilst still up in the sky.
It takes a little getting used to, but when you’ve got the hang of bouncing around in the air, you’ll be flying around the city as though you have a pair of wings. Like a 2D fusion of Vita’s Gravity Rush and Wii’s Rodea the Sky Soldier, the gameplay quickly becomes incredibly addictive, and to cure that addiction you have a bunch of gnarly levels that are hard to master but very rewarding when you do.
World 1 is basically a set of broken buildings with huge gaping holes that you must travel across, getting you used to the recoil action, then from World 2 onwards things really pick up.
With lines of electric disappearing and reappearing, you’ll have to time your blasts to go hurtling through without damage, to then aim again in mid-air and shoot yourself off in another direction to reach safe ground.
Enemies are introduced after World 1, with little robots scurrying across the floor or flying towards you that you must take out with the actual bullets of your gun, being sure not to send yourself flying backwards into anything too dangerous.
This 2D adventure is not just a case of getting from point A to point B though, as each level has 50 gears spread throughout, with a final score of bronze, silver or gold being given at the end depending on how many of these gears you collect. Each level also has a hidden special gear which can grant you with new outfits to make Kick look like a real bad ass all clad in camo print.
The levels are designed nicely too, with a maze-like feel to them later on, as you hit switches on a lift to make it go up, to then go back, blast through a wall, and reach an area underneath the lift that once wasn’t accessible.
The game doesn’t rely on the same physics throughout either, thanks to gun upgrades. Just as you get used to bouncing around with your original gun, you’ll go near a red light which suddenly grants you with an even bigger shooter that blasts you off twice the distance and at twice the speed. It makes for some really exciting yet treacherous gameplay as you hurtle across massive chasms and hope that you don’t end up smashing into something unholy outside of your view.
Bounce pads, conveyor belts and water all come into play as you progress through the game, giving you fresh challenges at every corner. My favourite part of the title was a level submerged in mostly water, as when underwater you have an infinite amount of bullets to shoot, so you can fly all over to your hearts content. I got in such a rhythm, blasting all over the flooded building, that I didn’t want it to end.
The last world is especially exhilarating, as you fly into portals to then shoot out of other portals in the distance onto rails, landing on bounce pads and bouncing your way through a smash-able wall. The last world mixes together everything you’ve seen so far and is genuinely mesmerising. It’s just a shame there aren’t more levels after this point. The bizarre concept of flying through the air via recoil means that most of the game is teaching you how to navigate the world with this new play style, something that admittedly is needed, but a sequel or DLC that starts off at the difficulty level of World 5 would be very welcome.
Relaxing sci-fi music fits the game perfectly and gives it an eerie yet somehow warming feel. It’s hard to describe but the atmosphere in this game is both calming and surreal as well as being slightly depressing with its abandoned robot landscape.
The graphics are cute too and especially impressive in darker areas as you shoot bad guys, lighting up the area around you with the explosion. With the exception of a few iffy textures everything looks charming and stylised with camera angles that are especially impressive, zooming in and out or swooping down at an angle for certain areas to give a dramatic feel, in a similar way to the Klonoa series, but perhaps slightly less extreme.
Kick and Fennick offers some really fun and challenging levels thanks to its novel gameplay style. As you bounce in the air from place to place, slowing down time and blasting robots whilst avoiding the massive robotic dog that just won’t leave you alone, it’s a charming adventure that will leave an impression on you. If you’re a fan of 2D platformers and interesting control mechanics similar to those seen in Rodea or Portal then you need to give this fantastic little title a try.
N-Europe Final Verdict
Kick & Fennick is a great game with some really unique features but with 45 levels on offer it's short lived.
- Inventive gameplay style
- Constant new gimmicks to master
- unique style and atmosphere
- Low quality textures
- Steep difficulty curve
- Short experience