A quick note: I wrote up my review of Kinetic Edge in time for the original release that was the 7th of January, but the release date has been postponed until next month while a few minor ailments are resolved.
Because this was on the assumption of it being an Early Access, I wouldn’t give it a score anyway, nor would I give it a negative appraisal if there were a few bugs here and there as it’s expected. As a quick change to the schedule, the following is a Kinetic Edge preview.
Kinetic Edge Preview
Kinetic Edge is a puzzle type racing game, if you will, from Seacorp Technologies (link to Steam page), the makers of Gunsmith – currently in Early Access. Of the two, Kinetic Edge is much more accessible, but it’s not without its hair-pulling moments.
Visually, it’s brilliant. The aesthetic borders on classic vector style games, only for a more modern age, using some illuminated neons to separate the obstacles from one another.
In the game, you play as a sphere racing towards a goal. Think Marble Madness, and you won’t be far off your assumptions. But one of the standout elements of the game is the features and variety.
Usually, it’s a race against time and Race, Maze and Gauntlet modes are all variations of beating the clock, only they feel very different from one another. Race has the largest play areas, separated by multiple checkpoints.
I’m On The Edge
Each time you fall off an edge or manually respawn, you’ll return to the nearest checkpoint, or in my case, the start. I find Kinetic Edge pretty tricky, but fair. The unfairness boils down to some of the camera angles where you’ll be blocked by a wall or two.
One way to counter this is by zooming in on the mouse wheel, but this doesn’t always solve the issue. Still, it’s a preview and will be sorted. There’s time to correct it, and it’s not frequent enough to spoil gameplay, though it does interrupt it now and again.
Besides zooming in with the mouse wheel, you can also use the mouse to direct where the ball will go; using the typical keys to move forward, backwards and to the sides. The physics of the ball were ideal in my experience – it felt like it had weight to it and it doesn’t take long to calculate the momentum, even when you’re shouting at the screen not to fall as you see it roll off in slow motion, doing a Thelma & Louise. Ah, ‘Kinetic Edge‘.
Just rolling about isn’t going to cut the mustard, so you have a few tricks up your sleeve: the dash, jump and blast. I didn’t get the latter much, but the dash and jump combo were indispensable in the Gauntlet mode to reach elevated positions and dodge larger gaps.
Run The Gauntlet
What’s Gauntlet mode? Well, it’s the same as Race, only you have one checkpoint, so it’s a manic dash to the end. It’s a bit like a typical game show obstacle course, only without the cheese. And man, gravity sucks.
Maze and Golf were perhaps my favourite modes, though to be fair, I liked all four. Maze is exactly what it sounds like as you have to escape a maze as fast as possible. There aren’t the typical dangers of falling down gaps or being knocked off course. The only thing is getting your bearings and remembering where you have and haven’t been like a neon Hansel and Gretel.
Golf isn’t my forte, but like Golf With Your Friends, it can become very addictive. Here the controls are stripped down to moving the camera with the mouse and holding the left mouse for the power. There aren’t any trajectory guides, but it doesn’t take long to get used to. About two or three hits in.
There are only three stages at present, but they consist of 9 holes each and depending on how many you play with, and how good/bad they are (the latter dragging things out), these stages have scope for a party session.
Fun With Friends (Or Strangers)
There’s a multiplayer mode, but I didn’t have much luck in connecting with others. The same thing happened with the leaderboards as they would fail to connect. There has been an update since initially writing this that adds an Arena mode, but alas, I couldn’t find any servers at the time.
In fairness, I very much enjoyed this on my own and anticipated it to be even better with others. While reviewing it, I roped in my children to play along too, and they loved it. Taking turns with one on the keyboard and the other with the mouse was as chaotic as it sounds, but fun nevertheless.
I will come back to Kinetic Edge without a doubt, to have a look at the multiplayer mode and update this preview accordingly, or do a full review. There’s no doubt that as word gets out, the number of players will improve, and judging from the game modes, this has the potential to be a cult classic.
The developers are currently working on improvements in the game, and there are other shapes available, though they weren’t configured when I played. Once again, no score for a preview, but Kinetic Edge has a lot of potential, and even at this stage, I’d score it highly. Even with the awkward camera angles, it’s a lot of fun on your own too.