Ivy the Kiwi? Preview

Ivy the Kiwi? Preview
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A Small-scale Game with Plenty of Heart - Ivy the Kiwi? Preview

What seems to be a small-scale gem is on its way to the Nintendo Wii and DS this August. Ivy the Kiwi?, developed by Sonic the Hedgehog creator and head of Prope, Yuji Naka, is an all-new side-scrolling adventure, and it features a heartwarming tale, 100 levels to play through, and a unique art style to boot.

Ivy Sets Off for Adventure

Ivy must traverse 100 levels as she finds her way home.

The plot in Ivy the Kiwi? revolves around a newly hatched kiwi (bird not fruit) named Ivy who fell out of her nest before hatching. This sets up the game, and it is up to young Ivy to traverse 100 levels and find her beloved mama bird.

The plot details you’ll see as you play are still a mystery, as neither Prope nor publisher XSEED have given many details regarding the story; but the game’s visuals sport a beautiful, hand-drawn look reminiscent of a classic fairytale storybook.

On-rails Gameplay

Gamers must draw vines on the screen in order to help Ivy get through the game’s stages.

Ivy the Kiwi? features on-rails gameplay, with Ivy running on her own to the right. When she hits an obstacle, she’ll run in the opposite direction. It’s up to you to draw vines on the screen for Ivy to run on, help her avoid pitfalls and other dangers, and get her to different levels.

The DS version of the game has drawing mechanics implemented right onto to the handheld’s touch screen, while the Wii version requires use of the Wii Remote’s motion sensitivity to draw the vines on your TV screen. The demos for both versions played well at this year’s E3 in Los Angeles, but the DS iteration felt a lot more natural.

It’s hard to recommend one version of the game over the other, though, as the DS version obviously provides better control and a much more enjoyable single-player experience with the Wii version, on the other hand, featuring versus and cooperative modes for up to four players, thus pushing the game as a more of a multiplayer effort.

Small-scale Release

Because Ivy the Kiwi? is such a small-scale indie game, it will see limited release at certain retail outlets. A few stores such as GameStop and Wal-Mart currently don’t have the title listed as an in-store purchase and instead offer online orders for the game.

Whether you choose to preorder the game online or wait for it to pop up at different retailers (or whether you go the download route and get the “mini” version of the game on WiiWare or DSiWare, which only features 50 levels) is up to you. The game seems to be a grand effort by a small company, and history has proven that sometimes smaller indie titles have the most heart, providing refreshing gameplay experiences that are hard to come by.

Ivy the Kiwi? launches in North America for the Wii and DS tomorrow.