Game Octane was given a copy of this game for use in this review. All content contained within the article are the sole thoughts and opinion of the author and has not been influenced or doctored in any way.
Recently I had the pleasure of playing Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. This game rejuvenated my love of the Metroidvania genre. Then I played The Messenger and wow another hit I gotta say. After two wonderful times I just wanted more and this is where Kunai comes in. When I saw the trailer I knew i had to play it and when we had the game offered to us for review I jumped on it. With that said, is kunai a good addition to the offerings of the relatively over-saturated genre? Let’s find out together.
The story is fairly interesting but also one that has been done before. The future is upon us sentient technology has overrun the world. In comes a resistance faction looking for someone to save them. They find it in you and take to a dangerous mission of freeing you from your confines. They succeed but are overrun by the enemy. It is now up to you to find your way to base camp and learn what it is that must be done to save your world.
It’s certainly more story than I’m used to but it’s in line with the bigger hitting titles of the genre. The nice part though is it’s well paced and relatively unintrusive. For the most part it can be skipped making replays better too. As usual I won’t go into much more than what was already said to save you from spoilers but let it be said It’s a good, light story and it gives you purpose and at the end of the day… that’s really all you need.
Chip tunes ahoy are the theme here. I really like chip tunes so I really liked this OST. It had thematics that married technology and feudal japan very nicely and gave a feeling of expediency and calm. It pushed me to do better but to also think my way through.
It’s clean and it’s retro. Like if Nintendo made the Gameboy Color to be the smoothest experience possible using it’s screen. Maybe Wonderswan Colour is more appropriate a comparison. Either way it’s beautiful and simplistic. It’s made to be easily understood and reacted to and that’s a good thing considering how fast paced you can make your experience playing Kunai
The meat of this review lies in Kunai’s game play. Yest the story, music, and graphics help paint the picture and keep you motivated but in order for Kunai to stand out in this genre it needs a hook. Well this game has two. Early on you will be given two kunai attached with rope or wire and it’s main purpose is mobility. Cling to walls, swing from the ceiling, climb at an accelerated pace… Everything about the kunai system is about maximizing speed and mobility. Well except how you can wait out enemy attacks by hanging in between two walls. So we got a system that helps us traverse the map. Anything else?
Darn right we got more. The game is beautifully directed with teaching the player in mind. Whenever you are given or met with something new, you will effortlessly understand how they work without it feeling like a lesson. There is a store to buy upgrades and hats. Yes you can customize your robot ninja. Combat focuses on close range much like games like The Messenger. In fact if you liked The Messenger I’m sure you’ll have no issues loving Kunai either. It’s certainly different enough to distinguish itself though. For example, when you defeat an enemy with your katana, you will be directly given health so no need to grab an orb.
All in all A very satisfying experience that is as fun as it is intuitive
Kunai is a wonderful game and another stern reminder as to why I keep kicking myself for avoiding the Metroidvania genre for as long as I’ve had. Clearly this is a genre still in it’s renaissance period with new, inventive play styles still coming out at a decent pace and kunai is no exception to that rule. TLDR: It’s a good game. Buy it.
Note: GameOctane received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
Check us out at Opencritic!
- Fast paced and intuitive game play
- Clean graphics and complimentary OST
- Super cute emoticons on kunai's face
- It feels a bit basic an experience (though that kinda helps it in a way)