Ivy the Kiwi? Mini (DSiWare)

Game Review

Ivy the Kiwi? Mini Review

USA USA Version

Posted by Corbie Dillard

Ivy the Kiwi? light

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?. Now XSEED is releasing a miniature version of the game on Nintendo's DSiWare service and despite having the 50 bonus levels and multiplayer removed, the main 50-level game itself remains intact and as charming as ever.

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 DSi stylus 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 as a walkway for Ivy to run on or to bounce Ivy into 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 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 points 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 faster finishing time, the game offers up a Stage Select where you can replay any levels you've already unlocked in the Main Game mode.

The simple and intuitive controls make Ivy the Kiwi? easy for anyone to pick up and play, yet provide the flexibility to offer enough accuracy for experienced gamers. The drawing and snapping of vines via the DSi touchscreen is extremely responsive and works quite fluidly, feeling more precise at times than even the Wii Remote. Toss in the added replay value of collecting feathers and finishing levels with faster times 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 light-hearted 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 alternating throughout the ten areas of the game, they never get the slightest bit repetitive or grating. There are a handful of cute sound effects to add even more spirit to the game's sugary sweet theme as well, 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. If you were hesitant to pay full price for the retail title but still curious, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better bargain than this 500 Point DSiWare version.

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User Comments (43)



LuWiiGi said:

Nice. I might think about getting this. Good review, Corbs (I swear every game you review gets a 9 or 10!). One question though: Is the Main Game the only mode or are there any other extras? (I know about collecting feathers and beating times.)



Zach said:

@LuWiiGi That's because he's got the seniority to pick the promising games and ship the rest to everyone else!



TingLz said:

Corbie is bribed with free games and candy to give 9s on his reviews



Kirk said:

I really don't like the art style of the game at all, to the point I'm not even interested in trying the game because of it. Graphics technology is not really important to me but the actual art direction and look of a game is very important, and this game has got it wrong for me personally based on the screens and videos I have seen so far.



CanisWolfred said:

The graphics wouldn't be bad if it weren't for the thick brown filter that makes everything look like doodoo...literally.



Oregano said:

I was always planning on getting the mini version so yay for me!

I wonder if it'll will be more successful than the retail one.



grumblebuzzz said:

Downloaded the demo off the Nintendo Channel and played it for all of 3 minutes. It's a Toki-Tori-ish type of game and I just don't really care for that.



rosemo said:

I'm about 2/3 of the way through the game and not going on to another area until I get all the feathers in the current area. It's a good amount of gameplay for $5. The control can get a little frustrating when the water drops come into play but otherwise no complaints.



Iggy said:

Did this game get a 9/10 because it was advertised on this site i wonder....



Zach said:

@Iggy We've also run advertisements for Pong Toss Pro: Frat Party Games and Heavy Fire: Special Operations. I assure you that there's no correlation between advertising and scoring, and those reviews will prove that if you don't believe me.



Token_Girl said:

Can someone refresh my memory on what the bonus levels were? I don't really need multiplayer, so if the bonus levels they cut aren't super appealing, I'll pick this up.



Corbs said:

Can we please stop this "I guess the game got a good score because they paid for advertising" sh*t. It's getting old. Have you checked the scores on many of the games that we've advertised lately? Not exactly blowing the roof off, are they?



Iggy said:

@15 My bad i kinda forgot about special ops and the others i just remember Ivy the Kiwi getting a 9 and then this got a 9 so i was like wtf are they selling out. You cant blame me for the fact that this used to be vc-reviews and now its nintendolife all fancy looking and all that. Thanks for clarifying



Starwolf_UK said:

@Token Girl. I seem to recall the bonus games basically being a hard mode (so the same layouts but objects in different places and more obstacles) but I could be wrong.



Zach said:

@Iggy Since this is just a shorter version of Ivy the Kiwi? the original, I'd attribute their similarity in score to that rather than any other factor. Also, any money we get from advertisement goes into paying the server cost... and if those servers were only used to host reviews with skewed scores that we skewed to pay the server costs... what would be the point?



CanisWolfred said:

Well-said, Zach. Besides, I don't think a small developer like Prope has enough money to buy the souls of the entire staff just to get some good reviews.



Iggy said:

@23 So are you saying you dont get paid to write reviews? If thats the case then I get your point if all the money you get is what keeps this site running. My bad for not knowing how it works but really can you blame me for suspecting when so much scams go down in the usa. But whatever were off topic.



Ickaser said:

Oh dear. Yet another must-have DSiWare game. I have at least $30 of DSiWare I need to get, but I need to save everything I get for the 3DS. Crap.



WolfRamHeart said:

I really like this game. I picked up a copy of the DS version on eBay for $12. It was definitely worth it. $5 for the DSiWare version sounds like an excellent bargain.



Dodger said:

I got the DS version and loved it so I will skip on this. For $20 new and less used, go ahead and get the full version. The bonus game is much more fun then the main game in my opinion and is where most of the gameplay is and the download play multiplayer is always nice if somebody else doesn't have the game. Just my opinion. It is still a good game for DSiware but I would spend the extra $15.



Odnetnin said:

@LZ So you're implying that the advertising might negatively influence scores... I knew it all along! It makes perfect sense!



theblackdragon said:

@Nintendoftw: It's the entire 50 main-game levels, not just a 'demo'. 500 points is a steal for it (provided you're interested in this kind of game) considering the retail version goes for about $20.



Taya said:

I played the demo and I couldn't get into it. I liked Yoshi Touch and Go and I LOVED Kirby's Canvas Curse but there was something about Ivy that turned me off. I can't put my finger on it.



Token_Girl said:

If the bonus levels are hard mode, I'll probably just pick up the DSiWare version. I wouldn't get past hard mode anyways with a game like this probably.



TingLz said:

@Od: Yup, so these reviews are still rigged. Advertised and negatively reviewed!! Makes perfect sense to me....I think



RantingThespian said:

I downloaded this before the review. I can say Corbie's review is spot on. I didn't buy or play the retail version, but I LOVE this DSi Ware version.



sonic_brawler95 said:

Anyone else notice that this is the exact review for the retail version, just with a new paragraph replacing the multiplayer aspect, and a slightly altered conclusion.
Thought I wouldn't catch on to you, did ya Corbie?



Fuzzy said:

I reckon the DSiWare version is perfect to play every now and again. Even though I have the full verison, for only 500 points I think I'll get this too for some Ivy-on-the-go.

And talking about advertising, I keep getting an ad that wants me to "Date Russian Girls" who are "Sexy, Funny, Outgoing".



Tethers said:

@ sonic_brawler95, #41: "Anyone else notice that this is the exact review for the retail version":

Maybe because it is the same game?

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