When Kick & Fennick was announced we were happy to see an old school style platformer coming to the PlayStation Vita. Jaywalkers Interactive has now ported this side scrolling platformer to the PlayStation 4 so owners of the system can play this adventure.
The story is quite simple, a boy called Kick awoken from cryosleep in a deserted, yet futuristic city. Plants are overgrown and taken over many areas, and robots are your only company. Most of these will become your enemies, but Kick is able to find a friend in Fennick, a racoon-like flying robot that needs a new battery. So your job is to find the battery for Fennick, whilst being continuously attacked by malicious robots, and facing obstacles along the way.
That’s about it as far as the story goes, there’s no dialogue system, and not much more story. After this, your job is to trek your way through the 40-odd levels to quite an open ending. There isn’t enough detail in this story to be satisfied at the end that you know what happened in this game. Perhaps this was to put more focus on the gameplay, but in that case why create a story in the first place?
The gameplay is actually pretty good though, and where Kick & Fennick shines. Kick finds an energy rifle very early on in his travels, that provides both offence and defence. This weapon can be aimed manually with the right analog stick, and can also be used for the platforming in the game, because it’s recoil will push you in the opposite direction. This recoil mechanic can also be used to survive some harrowing drops.
Despite being a platformer, there is no jumping in Kick & Fennick, which I didn’t expect. Everything relies on the abilities of your weapon, and Fennick doesn’t provide any help. One good thing is that when you do aim, time will slow down and you will see a projected path, which helps when you are in sticky situations. One issue that does occur sometimes though with this is that the camera will zoom in and get stuck in that position, which means you have to respawn in order to fix the problem.
Any obstacle that Kick encounters has to be dealt with with this mechanic, and it works very well. There are some rail-grinding sections and collectables are cogs and gears, this stuff reminded me of Ratchet & Clank quite a bit.
As mentioned earlier, the only help that Fennick provides is a quick checkpointing system. Essentially, of you die, he will respawn you where you were immediately before you died, but only as long as you have some health. Once that’s depleted, you will have to start the level all over again. So whilst Clank in Ratchet & Clank is quite functional, Fennick takes a backseat.
The game is paced quite well, throwing new elements into the game as you progress, just enough for you to not get bored. Kick & Fennick plays very well, and it’s clear that the developers have focused on this. The rest of the elements of this game are a little lower in standard. For example the game itself is only around 4 hours long, and the entire game looks very similar from start to finish, and there are issues with the story as mentioned earlier.
Kick & Fennick is actually a really fun platformer, despite its minor issues. The recoil mechanic used for platforming is different enough to make this game stand out from other platformers. It’s a little short, but definitely worth a look.
This game was reviewed using the PS4 version of the game.
- Replay Value