To best describe how I feel about Seacorp Technologies‘ multiplayer platformer-slash-racer, Kinetic Edge, allow me to take you on a little trip down memory lane.
Ready? OK, imagine you’re in your 40s. Now, try to ignore the grey hair and the aching joints (it happens to us all, deal with it), and think back to the games you played when you were young.
If, like me, you were born and raised in the UK, you probably opted for one of the three main personal computers that ruled the roost in the early-to-mid 80s – the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, the Commodore 64 or the Amstrad CPC-464. And you probably bought more than a couple of games from one of the decade’s biggest games publishers, Gremlin Graphics – one of which was Trailblazer.
Trailblazer was incredible for its time – a single player platformer-slash-racer where you controlled a ball moving forwrad along brightly coloured tracks and attempted to avoid falling to your doom. I have exceptionally fond memories of my time with that game, and Kinetic Edge evokes memories of that time more closely than any game I’ve played in the 30-odd years since.
Utilising a very similar core mechanic, Kinetic Edge brings the concept into the 21st century with much shinier visuals, more geometrically diverse tracks and the addition of multiplayer. But is a modern interpretation of an 80s classic enough in this day and age?
Early impressions are positive, thanks to a concise practical tutorial that gives you all the tools you’ll need to navigate each track. Kinetic Edge‘s central premise – precision platforming at pace – just doesn’t work, if the controls aren’t super tight, and thankfully that’s not an issue here.
By adopting some of the control mechanics you’d more normally find in third-person action games – such as an air dash and a double jump – you always feel like you are in full control, regardless of whether you’re controlling a ball or a cube or any of the other shapes at your disposal. Just as importantly, the levels are designed in such a way that it never feels unfair, should you fall off the sides.
This is rarely more obvious than in Gauntlet mode, which I believe should be Kinetic Edge‘s flagship mode – a one-shot, no checkpoint, high difficulty obstacle course that can be played solo or in multiplayer. At the moment, the mode only has one track available, but it’s a tense intricate affair that demands proper skill and is practically begging to be speedrun.
If you’re looking for something a little more sedate, the game does feature a few other modes. One of those is a maze mode, which is little more than what it says on the tin, but works surprisingly well. You can tackle mazes of different sizes, and the controls once again make it a pleasure to navigate. There’s also Arena mode, which almost feels a bit like that sumo ball game that featured in a couple of Mario Party titles – you and your opponents fight to stay within the boundaries of an area, all while attempting to make sure they don’t.
Lastly, Kinetic Edge even has a golf mode, which will feel immediately familiar to anyone who has played streamers’ favourite, Golf With Your Friends. It is essentially an insanely designed mini golf course, best played with mates. Disappointingly, this is where I ran into the only real technical issues the game has. Firstly, the camera seems a little trickier to use for some reason, which sometimes makes lining up shots somewhat more finicky than I’d like. Secondly, I also got stuck on a couple of sections. I mean physcially stuck in scenery, making it impossible to continue and forcing a respawn. Overall though, it’s still a pretty fun mode to mess around in.
Visually, Kinetic Edge is terrific. It makes an immediate impression, thanks to its wonderfully bright neon aesthetic, but it also features some beautifully shiny textures, giving everything an attractive reflective and glossy finish. As you may expect too, a game with such a strong futuristic motif also houses a great techno-style soundtrack. Taken as a whole, the game gives off strong 80s-style arcade vibes, calling to mind the likes of Tron, and served to press my nostalgia buttons even more strongly than the gameplay already had.
If you’re an old codger like me with fond memories of old 8-bit computer games, picking up a title that evokes those memories so well is a no-brainer. If, as is more likely, you’re a young whippersnapper (I hate you), I still thoroughly recommend Kinetic Edge. It’s a terrific mix of genres that’s great in single player and even better in multiplayer. Get on it.
Kinetic Edge is available on PC through Steam.
Developed/Published by: Seacorp Technologies
Disclaimer: In order to complete this review, we were provided with a promotional copy of the game. For our full review policy, please go here.
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