Developer: Lab Cat Games
Publisher: Lab Cat Games
Tested on: PC
KITE – Preview
Do you sometimes feel homesick about the 80’s, its colorful settings and disco flavored music? Remembering how glorious computer games looked in the early 90’s with their graphics and gameplay? It’s time to step in our time machine and go back to the golden days in this action packed twin stick shooter Kite that’s currently in steam Early Access.
The game drops us in a world where peace has come to earth, everybody lives in absolute freedom with nature and times seem good for mankind. This was until security bots went AWOL and have turned against their master, it is up to you to bring back the peace and tranquility to the city.
The world of KITE is presented in a Pixel-art style that reminds us of early 90’s pc games. Because of its retro-futuristic theme that utilizes various bright colors, it makes this title feel nostalgic butnew. Since nature and technology are combined it is normal that most levels take place in semi nature, semi lab like fields bringing us diverse and colorful settings. The simple yet effective placing of the HUD ensures for a comfortable playtrough without the need of any searching around.
When you say retro we expect a fitting tune and KITE delivers with a nicely mixed soundtrack that plays throughout the game, combining elements from both time periods mentioned earlier above. Since there are various amount of weapons it is joyful that, even in early access, weapons pose unique sounds according to their types. Although the intro can be a bit loud and there is at the moment no way to edit this, the rest of the game is nicely balanced with even the hottest battles sounding cleanly and not harmful to the ears.
KITE is a top down action shooter that utilizes RPG elements for its character development. You play as MAGS: a specially developed humanoid robot that has the capability to become upgraded with all kinds of new parts and skills. Since you start out as a prototype it will be in your best interest to rescue as many eggheads as you can. Thanks to these experts you will be able to expand on new weapons and body parts to aid in your adventure.
Since energy is used for various applications it is important to be careful not to run out in some firefights, especially when your bullet based gun are empty. When talking about weapons you can fully customize your load out, but take in mind that some weapons use power, bullets or both. Abilities such as sprint or shield rely on your electric pool, utilizing these will lower the amount of shots able to fire with an energy based weapon. When running low on health there is no need to panic. Dying isn’t the end of the world, since it literally does nothing. You just respawn at the start point.
Enemies come in all shapes and sizes. The beginner bots are easier to take care of, while later the more advanced species come into play. This can ramp up the difficulty by a bit, especially when they possess the same or even better weapons then you.
Since the title is still in early access all the missions tend to be the same all over again. These all follow the same patch: clear all objectives and get to the exit to win. Your main task is to rescue the scientists by activating their shield, later on you will also have to destroy the security systems by taking out the turrets, shield generators and servers protecting it all. The repetitiveness can affect the gameplay but since it simple pick up and play nature does make the game ideal for short plays or extended sessions when this monotonous doesn’t affect you. After each mission you are graded with a score, and the better you perform the more items you will unlock to develop.
The game is controlled by using keyboard and mouse. These can’t be remapped but are so simple that this isn’t needed. Controller support is not yet available but it would be good if they’d add it in the future.
Kite may still be in Early Access, but it has proven itself to be a worthy game so far. With graphics that bring back nostalgic feels and gameplay so easy that you can instantly pick up the game and enjoy. With a gradual difficulty curve, the fact that dying isn’t terrible and a scoring system that keeps you replaying levels to get a higher score does make this game a welcome newcomer in the Steam library.