Kick & Fennick: PS Vita, Review

The poor Vita has been terribly neglected of late, a forlorn sidekick for its parallelogram-shaped bigger brother who hogs all the best games and doesn’t get dog’s abuse for having a strokable surface.

While it would be lovely to suddenly say that this is a reason to wheel your OLED screen out of retirement and into the sun, Kick & Fennick, try as it might with some nice physics puzzling and animation, sadly won’t keep the dust off old Vita long.

The snub-nosed Kick has woken up in a strange world full of robots and seriously big gaps to leap across. Making a friend in the chirpy robot Fennick, he does what we would all do and arms himself with a gun bigger than he is. While this oversized blaster can be used to shoot enemies, its main purpose is to provide recoil in order to fire yourself over obstacles. Essentially erasing the need to jump, you must aim your trajectory with the right stick before a quick hit of a shoulder button sends you hurtling in the desired direction. It's a little fiddly initially, but quickly becomes satisfying. Your gun can be used twice in succession, and a lovely slow-mo effect means you can take the time to aim your second jump, which becomes necessary as puzzles crank up to fiendish. Touchscreen controls are also on offer, but the old problem of nontransparent fingers quickly rears its ugly head. 

Gun slow
While the world is beautiful and the physics enjoyably crunchy, levels quickly become repetitive… before skewering both thumbs with a frustrating difficulty spike. Suddenly this self-confessed ‘easy going’ platformer hits you with some spurious puzzling and very little reward for your effort. While something like Portal manages to make you feel good for surviving another test chamber, Kick & Fennick just sends you into the next level to do the same thing again.

The addition of extra threats and the necessity for even more perfect aiming doesn’t give your thumbs a pat for skill, just an overwhelming sense of luck if you succeed. It’s disappointing as the world and mechanics have plenty of potential but it feels spoiled by a mobile game mentality of far too many levels, watering down any true sense of progression. There’s fun to be had here, but you might not want to wait long enough to find it.


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