Before I can recommend Ivy the Kiwi? Mini, I have to ask one simple question: can you handle a little frustration in your games? If you don’t mind pulling your hair out occasionally because you died for the Nth time on a set of spikes or because you ran out of time just as you were reaching the end of a stage, you will find this game very fun and rewarding. If not, don’t curse my name and say I didn’t warn you.
In this game, you have to guide Ivy the presumed kiwi through a series of 2D stages, but you don’t directly control the flightless bird, instead you can draw up to three vines with which you can not only block her path or create safe ground for her to walk on, but nudge her or catapult her around. Because as soon as you start creating the vine, it is an actual object in the game that will affect Ivy or the enemies, and as long as you don’t let go, you can swivel it around to push Ivy where you want her to go.
In this case, it’s much easier to show than to tell.
So you can see that Ivy moves automatically forward, and that the vines can be stretched to send Ivy into a drill attack that kill enemies and smash certain blocks, but part of the frustration I talked about earlier comes from the fact that these attacks are not that easy to set-up, given Ivy’s tendency to run away. Moreover, it happens very often that you’ll accidentally pull on a vine you already laid down when trying to lay down another, or vice versa. No matter how careful you try to be, Ivy the Kiwi? is a fast-paced game, and in the heat of the action you WILL make these mistakes that feel utterly unfair and frustrating.
But to its credit, these frustrating moments never kept me away from the game for too long. I was always back eventually to plough through a few more levels. The game as this “just one more try/level” quality that makes it hard to put down when you’re in the zone.
Presentation-wise, the music really stands out. It’s a disappointment when tracks start to repeat in later worlds, but the quality of the music is undeniable. Some tunes are very upbeat, others strangely melancholic… I’d definitely be interested in purchasing the soundtrack.
Visually, well, the game looks very nice, but the name of this game is not “variety”. The backgrounds change from world to world, but those blocks that make up the levels are always the same, and you’ll see the same 2 enemies throughout the whole 50 levels.
Now if you’ve decided to get the game, the last question is: how are you going to get your fix? The game is available at retail as a DS and as a Wii game, as DSiware, and soon as Wiiware. The game looks better on the Wii, and while some may prefer the tactile feeling of drawing vines with the stylus on the DS, I think the Wii version uses different buttons to lay down vines, and to stretch them, thus eliminating the problem I described earlier.
Beyond that, the -ware versions of the game contain half the levels of the retail versions. Literally, because they’re the same levels. So while the downloadable versions offer tremendous value with 50% of the levels at 25% the price, if you end up craving more of the game and decide to purchase one of the retail versions, then you’ll have to play through those levels again. Just be aware of that. Personally I’m kind of thinking of getting my hands on the retail Wii copy, but I’d hardly call the 50 levels I just played unsatisfying. It might be just enough Ivy the Kiwi? to most people.
Good review. Seems like you liked the full(ish) game better than the demo. I had the same problem with drawing/snapping confusion on the DS. But the game is fun when you get into the flow. I might go for the WiiWare version. Or the retail release. (Prope's release strategy for this game is beyond bizarre.) It was the original version, and it has multiplayer, too.
That I'll never play!!
(On the other hand, aren't the 50 extra levels in the retail versions just 'challenge versions' of the same 50 included here?)
Good review. I was just thinking about this game today, and how it will only succeed based on purchases by "informed gamers" such as ourselves. So I'll be doing my part, but I'll most probably wait for the WiiWare version. Good on Prope/XSeed for letting this game be available via alternate means. Also it seems like it would be a candidate for the iPod Store, I wonder if it has hit or will hit that platform soon.
Good to see such a great game reviewed so nicely. I downloaded Ivy the Kiwi? Mini when it was released and was very pleasantly surprised. I figured the game would be fun, but I didn't know it would be as charming a game as it is. I was so taken by it that i wanted to play it on the big screen (and try out a different way to control the game), and bought the Wii version. Bad mistake. It looks and sounds horribly muffled. It's weird to say that the DSiWare version is my preferred version to play. But no matter, it's a great concept no matter the platform and I'm happy to have had the chance to experience what the game had to offer.
Well, don't read too much into my comment, as I'm super picky - I've really only heard a few reviews/impressions mention the drop in graphics/sound. And let me say that I'm not one to require super high res visuals, so it's not that. I just had a hard time living with how this game looked for a Wii game. On the DS, the limited color scheme and jittery story book look worked just fine. But stretched onto a larger screen, not so much. In fact, it was almost hard to look at/play. It was just weird playing a game with so much of the border of the screen all around faded out. I'm not describing that very well, probably. It really was a just a matter of how they chose to present the game, and I'm simply not fond of it. It could be an artistic choice, or it could be a means to draw attention away from the overall lack of definition. But again, for most people this probably isn't an issue. I'm just more tuned into these kinds of things, I suppose. If you ever want to try it, I can send you my copy to try out. I'm not sure how financially sound an endeavor that might be given the low price of the game relative to the cost of shipping, but certainly an option all the same.
I just happened to try out the DS demo from the Nintendo Channel just now and I'm intrigued! I know @NoName wasn't terribly pleased with the Wii version, but I know I want the full 100 levels. So I'll get either the full DS or Wii version.
Anyone else have an opinion on the matter? DS or Wii?
DS version FTW. Not only will it be cheaper on your wallet, but the stylus is better for more precision-based pointing and vine-control. Plus, it's one of those games that works really well as a pick-up-and-play game, so I feel it's better suited for the handheld. Plus, all those reasons @NoName mentioned.
Some of the music is pretty epic. Wait until you get to the Mountain area in the game. Play it while wearing headphones - you're in for a treat!
This game is a perfect downloadabe title, I'm glad I got it on DSiWare (finally).
However, Gui was not joking when he said it can get frustrating. I think I DID actually pull out some hair at one point. The difficulty curve spikes at world 7 and the parts where you have to roll a ball at the same time as guiding Ivy are maddening! However the game's still fun. I'd be lying if I said I don't want to speed through the game again to get a high score.
Yeah, Ivy The Kiwi? mini is really great. For the asking price of $5, this game is a steal. I found it to be really fantastic. I actually beat the game, and got 100% of those feathers you pick up along the way. So satisfying!
I've already recommended this game to everyone, but I'll endorse it again. Just because of how great it is!