Kite comes out of Early Access and has a lot to enjoy. The Finger Guns Review;
Kite is like a Chaos Engine-like action gunrunner. It was the game which was in my head as I powered through, and memories were flooding back of sitting down in front of my Amiga and discovering video games for the first time. Kite brought back that feeling and reminded me that away from narrative-heavy experiences, there’s still a place for titles like Kite to thrive.
Kite plays out in front of you like some kind of 80’s fever dream. The Chiptune soundtrack along with the use of colours makes the whole game feel like some kind of time travelling acid trip, with the visuals and the music (which is the games clear highlight), battling for your attention throughout. It’s an art style that immediately works and makes you excited to see more, with the level design in particular of the highest quality, reminding you of titles like Chaos Engine and Syndicate. The developers – or one man developer, I should say – clearly has influences from the classic MS-DOS titles and it works in the games favour, the resurgence of the art style even this year (Crossing Souls, Celeste etc) should hopefully bring attention to Kite.
You play as Mags – a Human-Operated Remote Droid – and in a nice change of pace, you’re not really saving the world. The world is currently at peace with science leading the way across the planet. The utopia we all thrive for has become a reality and the world lives in equal harmony. It has become illegal to create weapons across the world. Despite this, there are still numerous underground weapons research agencies, hidden from the judgmental gaze of a peaceful humanity. There’s been a security breach at one of these facilities so you have to go in and take down a robot army before they take escape further.
Kite is a fast moving, almost bullet-hell experience with Mags constantly moving throughout, you had a variety of weapons at your disposal at all times including SMG’s , rocket launchers, knives and more which you can switch between at your leisure. Mags can move fast than the speed at light at times which is good way to get yourself out of the way of enormous rocket turrets, for example. Be sure to destroy damn near everything you see too, as most have scrap you can use to craft new weapons or upgrades or food which can boost up your health.
The constant flood of enemies in later levels can be exhausting, it would have been nice to see a little bit more balance to keep the game at its energetic pace, I felt it slowed down a little too hard as I was relentlessly taking down enemies, it felt repetitive and despite my upgraded weaponry and super quick movement I was outgunned quickly, which left the back end of Kite feel like too much of a chore to keep up with the enjoyable 50% that came before.
Still, Kite does an awful lot well, particularly your upgrade system which at first glance looks horrendously, horribly confusing but it’s surprisingly quick to get your head around. The upgrade trees and crafting are essential to progress in Kite so you’re going to want to focus your attention whenever you get the chance otherwise you’re going to get mowed down pretty quickly by the oncoming robot army. It’s built upon the classic twin stick formula which isn’t going to worry Housemarque anytime soon but has the blueprints for something better in the future and works really well in Kite. It’s all a bit bonkers and it very much works in its favour.
Kite is going to appeal to those who are after a little bit of a nostalgia hit. And in the times where nostalgia is almost a selling point for games, TV shows and movies, Kite has flown in at precisely the right time to hit that sweet spot. It has been designed by a single man with a passion for the genre and it shows throughout. It’s not perfect, it’s not even brilliant, but what Kite does well it does really well. If I had this game as a kid I would have been delighted.
Ergo, it’s a game that’s pretty damn good. And that soundtrack is glorious.
Kite is available now on Steam. Download the game here.
Developer: Lab Cat Games
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review we were provided with a code from the publishers. For our full review policy, please go here.