Kick & Fennick – Wii U

Kick & Fennick is a 2.5D platformer from Jaywalkers Interactive and Abstraction Games. Kick is a small boy that wakes up in a dilapidated environment and finds a cute robotic friend called Fennick, who unsurprisingly looks a bit like a fennec fox. Sadly, Fennick’s tail is broken and the boy feels the need to replace it. And so the duo go on a dangerous, action-packed adventure.

The game is entirely built around a really cool and fun jumping mechanic. You jump by using a massive gun. If you aim into and shoot the ground, you will propel yourself into the air. Once in the air you can shoot again to give you a double jump. You can angle your aim as much as you want and in a very useful touch, time slows down while aiming, allowing you a moment to perfect your shot.

With a dynamic camera coupled with the aiming slow-down, you have a very cinematic, kinetic feeling for the game. It makes the platforming a joy to perform. Landing on tiny platforms, reaching impossibly high ledges and blasting head first through crumbling walls is very satisfying.

Gameplay is great throughout with only a few moments of frustration during certain sections, mostly involving places where you have less control of yourself such as the anti-gravity sections and bounce pads. If I ever died during the game it was because of these parts. They do become more frequent later in the game and they do tend to disrupt the flow of the game when you get stuck on a section. It’s not game breaking by any means, but during these parts it mostly comes to luck rather than the precision the rest of the game is based around.

Naturally having a gun, means you can utilise its intentional use, as a weapon. There are a couple of bad guys you will need to take down. Propelling yourself into the air, switching your gun around and blasting an enemy away mid-air never got old. The slowing down time feature really gives it a badass feeling, especially if you propel yourself with a jump, switch your aiming around and blast a bad guy in the face, sending you in the opposite direction.

Strangely for this kind of game, there are no power ups or upgrades to get which makes it feel on the simpler side, but for me, that’s one of the beauties of the Kick & Fennick. It’s just you and the mastery of the jumping technique. I enjoyed the fact it was so simple.

I will say, while the lack of variety in techniques was fine, I don’t like it in regards to the enemies and environments. As already stated there are only a few enemies in the game. There should have been more. Also,the environemts are very similar throughout the game, almost Portal-esque in an abandoned facility kind of way. It would have been nice to see different kinds of vistas, even if they were clichéd deserts, jungles, mountains etc.

There are boss battles at the end of each chapter and, while they’re always against the same enemy, they play very differently each time and so it doesn’t feel repetitive. To be honest I’m not always a fan of boss battles, I often looked forward to seeing what would happen each time they came up in Kick & Fennick.

There are two different collectables in each of the levels. The most common are the 50 powernodes scattered through each level. They are often found in singles or small groups along the path to the finish line, although to get them all you will need explore a little bit to find secret areas off the beaten track. As long as you’re willing to be curious, finding all of them in one go isn’t too big of a challenge, especially early in the game. One thing I liked was the fact that if you respawned after failing a jump, you still have the powernodes collected during that jump, and although it might sound silly, sacrificing a bit of your health to collect the ones in a tight spot was pretty commonplace during my play through.

The other collectable is the special gear. There is only one special gear in a level and it’s also the difficult to come across as they are often in very secretive areas and well off the normal route of the level.

If I’m honest, I’m not sure what good all these collectables do in the grand scheme of things. The special gears unlock new, although not particularly distinguishable outfits for Kick. I would say that it’s still one of the most fun games to try to 100% just because it’s really fun trying to get them.

Graphically the game is on the simpler side, but it’s nice and bright. The sterile environments make it less colourful than it could have been, which is a shame. But overall it visually does the job. It runs very smoothly on the Wii U too. The music isn’t really at the forefront of Kick & Fennick and sadly most of it passed me by. It wasn’t bad by any means, and I’m sure if I took time out to listen to it I would appreciate it a lot more.

Overall, Kick & Fennick is a fantastic game and one worthy to be on your Wii U system. Aside from the occasional gravitational section and bounce pads, the platforming is an absolute blast to play. It makes it look and feel cool with slowing down time and using your gun as both a traversal tool and a destruction tool. A solid recommendation from me.

Good points

– Excellent controls and gameplay

– A lot of fun to play

– Collectables that are fun to find

Bad point

– Gravitational sections and bounce pads

– Environments are a bit boring

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