Game Review

Ivy the Kiwi? Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Absolutely di-vine

After spending years helping Sega create some of its most popular console releases during the Mega Drive and Saturn eras, Yuji Naka decided it was time to form his own development studio. His main goal was to create gaming experiences that appealed to a much broader audience. No better title could sum up this goal more perfectly than his newest creation Ivy the Kiwi?. Not only does the game feature the same level of charm and fun you'd expect from one of his titles, but it also features a unique control system that can be enjoyed by gamers of all ages and skill levels.

Your goal in Ivy the Kiwi is to guide Ivy safely to the podium at the end of each level. Since Ivy basically runs around on her own and cannot be controlled directly, you'll have to draw vines using the DS stylus in order to guide her through all of the many obstacles and enemies strung throughout each level, ranging from menacing rats to razor sharp spikes.

There are a number of ways to use the vines, including simply using them as a walkway for Ivy to run on or bouncing Ivy up in the air by rotating the vines in an upward direction. You'll even be able to pull back on the vines and then let them snap back to send Ivy shooting into the air. This manoeuvre can be used not only to take out enemies, but also to break certain blocks in your way. The game limits you to three vines on screen at once, so you'll have to carefully manage your use of them if you're to successfully guide Ivy through some of the game's trickier sections.

The Main Game mode is basically the story mode of the game and offers up ten different areas to tackle, each containing five levels. There are ten Red Feathers to collect in each level, not to mention medals to be earned based on the time it takes you to finish a level. If you feel like going back and trying to collect feathers you missed or earn a better medal, the game offers up a Stage Trial mode, where you can go back and replay any levels you've already unlocked in the Main Game mode.

If you're feeling like a little competition, you'll find the Multiplayer Mode right up your alley. In this mode you and up to three other DS owners can take on two different competitions against one another, including a race to the podium and a competition to see which player can pick up the most medals dotted around a particular level before the time runs out. These multiplayer levels are extremely well executed and even offer Download Play for adding additional players that don't own the actual game cartridge.

The simple and intuitive play control makes Ivy the Kiwi easy for anyone to pick up and play, yet offers enough flexibility to offer experienced gamers enough accuracy. The drawing and snapping of vines via the DS touchscreen is extremely responsive and works quite fluidly within the framework of the play controls and feels more precise, at times, than even the Wii Remote. Toss in the added replay value and a few unlockable surprises and you'll certainly never be at a loss for things to do throughout your adventure.

The storybook scenery does an amazing job of bringing the lighthearted fairy tale world to life onscreen. Each area looks like it was pulled straight from a canvas, and with ten different locales to travel through there's never a dull moment from a visual standpoint. Even the characters and enemies you'll encounter during your quest are nicely detailed and smoothly animated. It might have been nice to see a bit more variety and detail in the actual blocks that make up the foregrounds of the levels, but it's difficult to complain much given how wonderful everything else looks.

As enchanting as the visual presentation is, the developers have also managed to craft a musical score that somehow perfectly captures the endearing charm of each area you'll visit. Even with the tunes being alternated throughout the ten areas of the game, they never get even the slightest bit repetitive or grating. There are even a handful of cute sound effects to add even more spirit to the game's sugary sweet theme, but in the end it's the game's soundtrack that shines the brightest.


Ivy the Kiwi is the perfect example of the type of enjoyable and refreshing gaming experience that can be created when a developer isn't afraid to try something a little different. Not only does the game absolutely ooze storybook charm, but its simple touchscreen controls are easy enough for gamers of all ages to pick up and play, yet challenging enough to give even seasoned platformer fans a serious run for their money. In all honesty, it's one of the most unique and captivating titles to hit Nintendo's DS system in quite some time, and given its $20 price tag and slightly more precise control method, it's probably the better of the two versions if you're only picking up one.

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User Comments (38)



Sakeraf said:

Great review! I definitely want to try out this game. but it sounds like its a little too easy...



TKOWL said:

Whoah! I was expecting a 7 or and 8, but a 9? I might just try this out



TheBaconator said:

The pun at the begining makes me want this game. The demo, the fact that I need money for all these Wii games coming out, and the Gameinformer review make me pass on this game. Not to mention I'm only going to buy 1 more DS game before the 3DS comes out and I already know what it is.



TLink9 said:

@2 Just because of the style of the game does not mean that it is hard. Also look at the conclusion.



Denkou said:

looks like a good game, but just by seeing the screenshots i crave something that ISNT monotone.... god i hate bland colors with a passion....



Hokori said:

WoWW I thought I was going to get a 7 or an 8, and I was still going to get this, just not as quickly, I might have to get this Sooner than I thought. Unless I won the contest?



FonistofCruxis said:

This doesn't look like a game that I'd be wiling to buy as a retail game so I might get the dsiware version.



Metroid133 said:

I was going to preorder this on Saturday, but when I went to Gamestop they said they never heard of this. They looked in their system and said there was a Wii version that came out a long time ago, and dropped to $30. How is this supposed to sell well if no one at Gamestop even knew about it.... Guess I'll pick up both retail versions up sometime next month.

Great review as always, Corbie!



EdEN said:

@Metroid133: Well, it's like this with most game store employees. When I got Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney I was told by a Game Crazy employee that I was wrong and that no game with that name existed nor would it ever see a release...



Slapshot said:

Gameinformer had a pretty negative review on this one for the DS. Still makes me really iffy about this one on DS.



WolfRamHeart said:

@slapshot: Did you try the demo on the Nintendo Channel? It gives you a good feel as to what to expect from the game. Give it a try. I really enjoyed it so I'm definitely picking this one up.

Very nice review Corbie! I wasn't sure which version of the game I wanted but now I am definitely getting it for my DS.



Punny said:

A 9? How surprising! I knew the game was good, but I didn't know it would be THIS good! Sweet review!



Hokori said:

Please buy this great game dont let it be another little king's story or Klonoa



Akirih said:

Wow, since I saw this game I wanted to get it, now after reading this review I cant wait to get it >.<



Slapshot said:

@Wolf.... actually I didnt know a demo launched Ill check it out today. The art style of this game is incredible and the $20 price tag is phenominal so Im sure Ill grab this one. That Gameinformer review really trips me out as they are usually pretty accurate on my taste in games.



hulklol123456789 said:

Very very good game, I really enjoy the trailer, and im picking up probably both version, very very nice, exelente review Corbie



YoshiSage said:

XSEED made this... On one hand, they made Retro Game Challenge. On another hand, they made Ju-on: The Grudge.

Even so, this looks too good to pass up.



XSEED doesn't make games. They just distrubute and localize them.



Fuzzy said:

I think I'll get the full version on DS and the Wiiware version for my Wii. Or the other way around.



B-ry said:

This game is hard to find where I'm from. I was gonna pick it up as a gift, and I checked GameStop, Toys R Us, Wal-mart, K-mart, and Best Buy. Most said they won't be getting any in because they didn't have any pre orders for it, but Best Buy said they'll be getting 2 copies in a few weeks. I live in a decently sized city so it was kind of surprising that it's just not available.



Corbs said:

They gave out the ship to retailers date. It actually comes out tomorrow. Sorry about that.



baddog992 said:

I disagree with almost everything about this review. The first level isnt easy and the fail screen that pops up was enough to drive me away. Also the timer is so 1980's. Frustrating game for me. Ymmv.



Tri4ceHolder said:

I love this game. The levels are easy so it's kind of a game you can play when you're in the car and when you nothing else play.

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