Fly Kiwi, Fly!!! iPhone Review
Game: Fly Kiwi, Fly!!!
Developer: Hungry Game
Publisher: Hungry Game
Available on: iPod Touch and iPhone (reviewed on iPhone 3GS)
OpenFeint has been called “The Xbox LIVE of the iPhone”, with it’s friends lists, achievements and leaderboards, but unlike Xbox LIVE, OpenFeint offers a free game of the day, every day. It was thanks to that very idea that people (myself included) may have stumbled across this very title, Fly Kiwi, Fly.
The premise is fairly simple, you are a Kiwi bird and you are sitting with your uncle on the sofa (stay with me here) watching a rocket launch on the television. You decide right there and then what you want to do with your life, you want to be on that rocket, you want to be like that rocket! Despite protestation from your uncle, you take to the skies with a kite strapped to your back and a cliff to jump from. How far can you go? Will you make it to your beloved rocket?
You start on the cliff and your goal is to travel across countries, getting further each time to get to the rocket. You do this with two main abilities, you have a propulsion item (firework underneath you for example) and a flight item, starting with a simple kite and eventually upgrading to the jet-pack. Later on you’ll get a third abiliy whereby you have a “launch” mechanic, starting with a trampoline and ending with a cannon!
Tilt controls are the order of the day, with a simple tap on the screen to use any item or ability you have, using the momentum of your descending Kiwi to catch the wind and go as far as you can go. The key to the entire game though, is the upgrade system. As you fly further across the map you gain cash (dollars) and fuel (for your propulsion system, rocket, fireword etc). The fuel is self explanatory, but the cash is collected to go to the shop and upgrade your equipment. You go from a kite to a jetpack, from a firework to a jet-engine. You can also upgrade the cliff height, fuel efficiency, aero-dynamic ability and top speed. Even more than that though, you can buy one of three ground accessories, roller-skates, spring-shoes or a pogo stick; all of these are utilised upon the touch of a corresponding “button” just before you hit the ground to give you that little bit more propulsion, so you can just get that extra bit of distance.
OpenFeint achievements are integrated wonderfully, every time you reach a new country you’ll get an achievement with a fair hint of humour (France = “Baguette”, Russia = “Vodka”) but more than that, you’ll get achievements that are rewarded for progression. When you upgrade an ability sufficiently you will now be able to fly faster (achievements for different top speeds) or a better rocket will get you a higher altitude (again, achievements for different top altitudes). The whole thing is done extremely well and you feel rewarded at regular intervals.
Fly Kiwi, Fly really has an incredibly high “one more go” feeling to it, sometimes you’ll just have a quick 60 seconds with it, fly as high as you can then free-fall to the ground just to add another $10,000 to your wallet, because you are “score-attacking” merely to be able to afford the $300,000 upgrade for fuel efficiency.
You can tell that the game didn’t have scores of people developing it, there are a few cut scenes but they are very short (but to the point) and there isn’t much music, indeed most tracks sound like loops, but you’ll forget all of that when loop-de-looping (an important skill as doing so gives you extra fuel) your Kiwi, thrusting him to 1000 feet with a rocket then dive bombing to gain ever more momentum. On the subject of music, you might find it irritating, especially the menu music…..so consider this fair warning! Also, once you master the techniques required, you’ll find you finish the game fairly quickly, and to be honest there really isn’t much to do afterwards as you’ll have upgraded everything to it’s maximum.
The iTunes App Store can be hit and miss at the best of times but occasionally you find a gem of a title, something that will grab you by the short and curlies and will engage you so much you’ll need to charge your device multiple times in a day. Fly Kiwi, Fly is exactly that, it might not last you very long and the music might make your partner and friends want to kill you, but at a ridiculously priced 59p ($0.99), once again the iPhone/iPod Touch shows us that you don’t need to spend silly money to get a thoroughly enjoyable experience out of a game.