Kunai

Switch, PC, family friendly

I’m in looo-oooove. Oh my, I do so very much love it when I find myself a new Metroidy platform game that just flooooooooows. And that’s exactly what I’ve found in Kunai. They call it “KUNAI”, but it’s rude to just shout all the time.

In Kunai you play Tabby, a tablet computer, armed with dual grappling hooks and a bloody great big katana. Yes. Yes. It’s some time in the third millennium, and humans seem to be gone, replaced by warring tribes of robots. You appear to be some sort of Chosen One, a sleek little tablet in a world of CRT-wearing robot types. And gosh darn it, you’re HAPPY!

From here on out, you’ve got a top-notch fast-paced Metroid-me-do, more open areas than tight corridors, with no particular surprises in the shape of things. Where the immediate joy comes from is in those grapples, found almost straight away in the game (before even the double-jump!), and used to fling yourself around the levels in the most superbly intuitive manner.

I’m playing on the controller, although mouse/keyboard controls are there. But with the controller you’ve got a grapple on each trigger, and there wasn’t even a learning curve to just get to grips with them. It just made sense, and I was immediately merrily whooshing about the place, then diving downward to surprise attack the red-screened enemy bots with aerial assaults.

Along the way you gather coins, and these are spent on extra abilities for current weapons, or modest improvements to Tabby like having his health recharge through solar power, or a coin magnet for easier gathering – fairly standard things.

And there’s really not much more to pass on. Except to talk about just how exquisitely well it’s all delivered. Movement feels pinpoint perfect in every way, which is such a rare treat in platform gaming. There’s usually one or two elements, even in the best games, where something’s a couple of pixels or half-seconds off. But not here. The jump, the grapples, the attacks – they’re all absolutely perfect.

It’s also really nicely presented. The muted colour palettes work very well, especially with the contrast of the red enemies and red explosions. The art is gorgeous, really lovely enemy types. But nothing is better than Tabby’s facial expressions.

Just on the move he’s ridiculously happy, a great big grin plastered on his face. But swing the sword and he pulls the crossest face! Or there’s the grimace of sliding down a wall. Or my favourite, his tongue poking out in concentration when he’s grappling. He’s adorable.

Yes! This! I love it so much! It’s fun, cute, fast, with utterly perfect controls. And hang on both grapples at the same time and you can kwaping yourself upward as if on bungee cords! I can think of no higher recommendation.

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