Developer: Chestnut Studio
Price: $0.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★½☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★½☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

kyubo07kyubo04I like platforming and I like puzzles. I also like both of those things together, which just so happens to be what Kyubo is all about. It’s a strange combination of jumping around hazards and manual (but limited) platform movement that actually works quite well. Aside from the somewhat touchy controls and floaty movement, that is.

Some poor soul has been imprisoned for one reason or another. In order to free himself he’ll have to traverse 70 different rooms filled with insidious puzzles and deadly traps. But he’s not alone. Along the way he’ll encounter the spirits of those who came before him, each of which will help by giving him the ability to rearrange various blocks in order to reach the exit. Simply getting to the exit is manageable with enough persistence, but players will really have to use their heads in order to finish without exceeding the move limit and earn each level’s crown. This could mean pulling off just about anything from using the vertical movement of a block to increase momentum for a higher jump to ducking between deadly lasers just as a platform moves in to block the beam for a brief moment.

The puzzles in Kyubo are as varied as they are brutal. Some of them are more akin to block-pushers and have few hazards (other than getting squished) to worry about. Others remove the player’s block moving abilities entirely and put their platforming skills to the test. Then there are those that combine both elements, requiring some pretty elaborate solutions and timing. These moments in themselves can be a challenge but try doing it with a limited number of block movements allowed. It’s ridiculous in all the best ways.

kyubo05kyubo11Unfortunately Kyubo hasn’t quite gotten the platformer side of things right. Everything is functional, but it could use some fine-tuning. Specifically the movement arrows are placed in such a way that I find myself missing them rather often, which usually results in getting roasted or some other nasty stuff. The movement is also kind of loose and floaty with no discernible way to take small hops, and it’s easy to drift too far to the left or right, which can easily lead to an over or undershot jump. Also more death.

Kyubo feels a little clunky at times but the controls are manageable and don’t really get in the way very often. It’s a clever puzzle platformer in need of a little tweaking, but what’s already there is still pretty neat.

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