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Typical Indie Reviews Kalimba

Updated on June 8, 2015
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Kalimba is a 2D platformer developed by a Danish studio called Press Play. Press Play is known for their platforms having previous developed Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and Max & The Magic Marker. They also developed Tentacles: Enter the Mind but that was more of an adventure game than a platformer. I was a bit hesitant with Kalimba. Having played Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and not being a big fan of it I wondered if I would get similar results with Kalimba. Thankfully I did not Kalimba is worlds better than the Max game. When you die in the game you actually feel like it was your fault and not the game's fault. It was challenging but it had a steady flow of difficulty progression. And the gameplay mechanics although not 100% original were rather creative and added life to the game. Which brings me to the first problem with the game. This game has a very heavy focus on color. Now that in itself is not a bad thing. What bothers me though is the game has no colorblind mode to speak of. Although colorblindness is not really something I'm educated in I don't like the fact that a game with so much emphasis on color. Has no colorblind mode for people who are colorblind. The primary game mechanic involves matching and switching back and forth the two totem pieces you control. Each totem piece is one color and throughout the game you will find walls, enemies or in some cases "spirit cannons" that all have a certain color associated with them. If you don't use the character with the matching color of one of those three things you will die. This game is already difficult enough as it is. It does not need to be even more difficult for colorblind players. But nonetheless the use of matching colors within gameplay is extremely effective. Even more so when you have to watch both totem pieces at the same time. This aspect surprised me at first. I couldn't recall ever having to control more than one character at the same time in a platforming game before. I immediately thought keeping track of both characters was going to be a chore. But to my surprise it actually was not. Soon enough I got used to watching both characters and I adapted to that new change pretty quickly. Two other complaints I have with the game is the visuals and the audio. Now the game is made with the Unity engine and I understand that it more than likely has some technical limitations. But the game drove me nuts with it's consistently bland art style and audio. The soundtrack of the game to me seemed like a consistent instrument which I assume is an actual Kalimba. But hearing whatever that was play the same notes over and over again was nerve-wracking. If there was any additional music it was forgettable. Now as far as the visuals go I do appreciate games with vibrant colors but what I don't appreciate is games with consistent colors. The game's levels started to blend together for me since each world generally used one particular color palette. It was not until I tried out the Dark Void part of the downloadable content I was actually able to significantly different change in the color palette as well as the art style. Overall though these are very small complaints the lack of colorblind mode being more irritating for me more than anything. But since the gameplay was practically flawless I enjoyed the game from start to finish. And did not for one second regret my $10 purchase. I recommend this game for anyone who enjoys difficult platforms like Super Meat Boy or 1001 Spikes. I do not recommend this game for achievement hunters though.

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Achievements

Kalimba is not an achievement friendly game. I was able to get 430 gamerscore out of it and that's counting achievements from the downloadable content I got for it. Without the downloadable content I would have had about 345 gamerscore in the game. By itself the game only has 27 achievements. But most of those 27 achievements can be really challenging. A lot of them require you to get a perfect score in each world. Which is not an easy task. So far as of writing this review I've been able to get a perfect around one to three levels. The rest of the achievements have to do with simply beating the game which there are only three of those. And the rest have to either do with challenge rooms which are kind of easy as long as you get used to the game or have prior experience with platforming games. There's two achievements for beating a specific unlockable mode. One mode which is called Old School Mode is very difficult since you only have three lives and no continues. I only managed to get to the third level before I ran out of lives. You unlock it by beating the single player campaign. The other mode Shorthanded mode I have hardly any information on so the difficulty of that mode is unknown to me. You unlock it by beating the co-op campaign. Overall you get anywhere to 200-400 gamerscore but even at that some skill and focus will be required.

4 stars for Kalimba

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