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Hands On: Ivy the Kiwi?

Posted by Corbie Dillard

We take Yuji Naka's unique platformer for a spin

Only getting a few minutes to play Ivy the Kiwi? at the recent E3 trade show in Los Angeles, it was difficult to get a good feel for what the games had to offer. While it was certainly fun getting to see them in action and having the gist of the gameplay fully explained, a part of me still wanted to be able to sit down and put them through their paces.

Lucky for us, the nice folks at XSEED were kind enough to send over preview builds of both the Wii and DS versions of the game and after putting several hours into each version, one thing stands immutably clear: Sonic creator Yuji Naka hasn't lost his magic touch.

The basic gameplay premise is quite simple. Your goal is to safely guide Ivy to a podium at the end of each level. While this might seem like a rather rudimentary objective, you'll soon find that there are a lot of hazards to navigate through, not to mention increasingly more intricate level designs as you progress further into the game. And since Ivy chooses to walk on her own, you'll have to draw vines to guide her along in order to maneuver the tricky levels and avoid the many dangers she'll encounter which range from small mice to larger birds of prey.

Both the Wii and DS versions are basically identical with the main difference being the method of control. On the Wii version you'll use the Wii Remote pointer to draw and snap your vines, whereas on the DS release you'll use the system's touchscreen. Both work quite well, with each offering its own set of pluses and minuses. While the DS touchscreen offers up the more precise control, the Wii Remote features a separate use of the "A" and "B" buttons to control the drawing and snapping of the vines. You'll quickly find that the more you play the game, the more intuitive and natural the controls become. It will likely to come down to personal preference as to which control method you'll prefer to make use of during your quest. Of course for those who end up really enjoying the game, it might be worth it to pick up both games since the differing styles of play control end up offering two very different, yet equally rewarding, gaming experiences.

The game features 50 regular levels for you to tackle, and they become gradually more intricate and difficult as you progress through them. There's also a surprise that will be unlocked once you've beaten the game's original 50 levels. As a bonus, the game offers up a multiplayer mode that will allow you to play competitively against each other with up to four players tossed into the mix. This involves a race to the podium at the end of each level and can be quite frantic. The Wii version splits the screen for multiplayer play, whereas the DS version allows up to three other players to join in the fun via Download Play on their own DS systems.

You can't help but be impressed with the way the developers have somehow been able to squeeze so much playability into such a simple gameplay system. It's also quite nice that you can go back and replay levels you've completed in order to attempt to better your finish times, not to mention collect any feathers you might have missed out on the first time around. There's almost a limitless amount of things to do within the game and the replay value will keep you coming back for more long after you've completed the initial adventure.

The visuals in both versions are also rather similar, although some of the special effects of the Wii version had to be cut in order to get the game running on the less powerful DS system. The lush storybook visuals really jump off of the screen and further enhance the game's fairy tale charm. The same can also be said of the rather endearing musical score you'll be treated to throughout the adventure. There's not a bad track in the bunch and the Wii and DS versions both sound equally impressive. It's clear that no corners were cut when the developers were putting the audio/visual presentation together and they really do compliment the action unfolding onscreen perfectly.

Ivy the Kiwi? is absolutely chock full of whimsical charm and personality and offers up an amazing gameplay experience to go along with it. The game is easy enough for gamers of all ages to pick up and enjoy and with the hefty dose of replay value built right into the game, you'll never be at a loss for something to do. Not only that, but the game will only set you back a mere $20 for the DS version and $30 for the Wii version. Even at full price these two games would have been more than worth their weight in gold, but at these bargain prices, they're an absolute steal. If you can appreciate something a little different, this is a definitely a game that you need to put on your wish list.

There's a five level demo of the DS version of Ivy the Kiwi? now available on the Nintendo Channel for everyone to try out. It will be available for download until August 15th. And don't forget, the game hits North American retailers on August 24th.

We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank XSEED and ONE PR Studio for allowing us to preview these two games.

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User Comments (41)

Paperclip

#3

Paperclip said:

Awesome preview Corbie, this looks so great, but I think I'll get it on the Wii for the multiplayer. And thanks for the heads up of the demo on the Nintendo Channel. Will definitely check that out.

SuperMarioFan96

#4

SuperMarioFan96 said:

Haven't heard of it previously, but looks interesting, especially since it won't be full price of most Wii and DS games.

WolfRamHeart

#5

WolfRamHeart said:

Thanks for the impressions Corbie! I was already psyched for this game and now that I've played the demo and read this article I absolutely cannot wait to get it! August 24th can't come soon enough!:)

CorbsAdmin

#6

Corbs said:

I had a blast playing these two games. Between the two I played well over 100 levels. I almost couldn't tear myself away long enough to write up the preview. :D

hulklol123456789

#7

hulklol123456789 said:

These game is just AMAZING, just played 5 levels, but played them 3 times hahahahah, AMAZING, recommended for everyone, at first its quite difficult to use the controls, after some minutes you find how easy it is, these games looks really but really awesome!!!!! It is not easy, it is challenging, but not too much, it is just the game you want, it is a really really really good game!!!! Can't wait till the America release!!!!

Punny

#10

Punny said:

I have yet to try the demo, but from what I've read in this preview, the game sounds fantastic! Glad I entered a contest to win this game! Even if I don't win, this game is a steal for $20 or $30!

Paperclip

#12

Paperclip said:

Hey Corbie, are the controls and visuals the only difference between the two versions? Are all the levels the same, and do they have the same amount?

Oh, and the demo says the DS version has single cart play.

ArmoredGoomba

#13

ArmoredGoomba said:

I just played the demo and I'm very excited for this game. Very unique and fun. Not sure if I want it for DS or Wii, but I'll definitely get it (at those prices it's a great deal)

irken004

#14

irken004 said:

WHOA it's only $20-30? I'll try the demo, and if I like it, I may pick it up when I get M:OM :D

pixelman

#15

pixelman said:

I played the DS demo on the Nintendo Channel and it was amazingly fun. Gonna pick it up ASAP. :3

CorbsAdmin

#17

Corbs said:

@ Starcross64 - I apologize, this does feature download play, so you only need one person with the cart to play up to 4 player multiplayer on the DS version. I'll edit that into the preview now. :)

TheBaconator

#18

TheBaconator said:

The game is like Kirby Canvas Curse only with shorter levels, no power ups, and no Kirby. And the demo was really easy.

CorbsAdmin

#19

Corbs said:

I'm going to go try the demo to see what levels it features.

irken004

#20

irken004 said:

I'm not doing too well on some of the demo levels, I keep running into spikes on 4-2 :P Overall it seems ok though.

Token_Girl

#23

Token_Girl said:

I think I'm going to get the DS version of the game. It's really a great deal, if it's as similar to the Wii version as you say. I've got my fingers crossed I'll win the contest though.

Totally downloading the demo tonight now too!

Sylverstone

#24

Sylverstone said:

It's a fantastic game on the DS.

Playing the demo, it reminds me so much of Kirby: Canvas Curse. Gameplay mechanics are solid, Ivy's an adorable character and it's a challenging game when it's ready.

Will definitely keep this on my radar.

Radbot42

#25

Radbot42 said:

Played the demo and thought the game mechanics weren't that great. Ivy walks too fast and the camera is too close for the speed it walks, so it is hard to set up the ivy for ivy to walk on.. And then I almost lost the level because I got Ivy stuck at the end of the level past the goal, because I thought I had to put it past it and not on top of it.

CorbsAdmin

#26

Corbs said:

This talk of "getting stuck" makes me wonder if everyone is getting the full range of movements you can get from the vines. I played over 100 levels and never got stuck anywhere.

Twilight_Crow

#27

Twilight_Crow said:

You made it Corbie! Now you can go back and play some more :P

Tried the demo, the DS touch controls are as great as I thought, can't wait to try the more difficult levels with them; and Ivy is just so cute :D.

This game is not that similar to Kirby's Canvas Course imo, the way you draw and use the vines make it more strategic.

CorbsAdmin

#28

Corbs said:

I wish I had time to go play it some more TC, but sadly duty calls. Maybe later in the week I can tackle the new play mode I unlocked upon finishing the game's regular 50 levels. :)

CanisWolfred

#32

CanisWolfred said:

I'm not interested. The artstyle's crap and those screenshots hurt my eyes. There are too many platformers on the DS already anyways.

CorbsAdmin

#33

Corbs said:

There are too many platformers on the DS already anyways.

You're lucky I'm in a good mood today. :O

hulklol123456789

#35

hulklol123456789 said:

I think the Wii option will be the best, anyways I can get both, the thing is that in the Wii version you just need 1 wii and you can play multiplayer with 2 controls, with a DS I eed another people with a DS and I don't have firneds with a DS, so... both of them look great, AMAZING, adn the trial version was really really funny, I played it like 3 times each stage :), so these is a REAL must-buy these year!!!!

CanisWolfred

#38

CanisWolfred said:

@Zsxdflip

Quite a few of them. I'm actually having trouble thinking of ones that aren't good. Except Ivy The Kiwi, Judging from what I've played from the demo, so I really have no reason to care.

thaantman

#41

thaantman said:

I lost interest when I found out this would be a retail release instead of wiiware, the ds demo is solid but not sure if I would give this a purchase. This should had stayed a download where it would probably standout among the best on the service, but as a retail game I feel it's just going to get lost in the shuffle

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