How do you feel about storybooks? I suspect that I’m like most people: It is something geared for children. It is meant to be didactic. Xseed is hard at work to prove that maybe, just maybe, everyone should pay a little more attention to that style of storytelling. Welcome to the world of Ivy the Kiwi? for the Wii and DS.
Ivy the Kiwi? follows a newly hatched bird by the name of Ivy. She is stuck in her shell and can’t fly, and her mother has vanished. So what’s a bird to do? She sets out to find her mom.
The premise is simple: Get Ivy from one side of the level to the other. However, Ivy cannot be directly controlled. She walks straight ahead and does not stop for anything. This is where you, the player, step in. Using the Wii-mote (or the stylus on the DS), you draw vines on the screen to direct her. You can even pull back the plant and send her flying into enemies. Some levels have rocks to move around the environment. Rocks are necessary as they are one of the few things that break weak walls and destroy enemies. But there is a catch: Only three vines can be on the screen at a time.
But don’t think the game is complete once you reach the last level. Each level contains a medal and 10 feathers. By collecting all 11 items, you can boost your score even higher. So in a way, it becomes a self-imposed time-attack challenge.
Control wise, it feels a bit clunky. But I strongly suspect this a fault of my own and my lack of understanding the game. I got to play it for about 10 minutes, and I did not have the luxury of playing for hours on end. The presenter quickly admitted that he preferred the DS version while some of his colleagues prefer the Wii.
Furthermore, the differences between versions is almost negligible. The real difference is multiplayer. In the Wii version, up to four players can jump in at any time. Thus, there can be 12 vines on screen at once. Hypothetically, this makes things easier as each player can tackle a part of the environment. In verses mode, the television is split into panels and create vines that interfere with the other players.
The DS version does not have a co-op mode. It does have a race-to-the-end mode, which is exactly what it sounds like. First person to cross the finish line wins. Then there is a race to collect the most medals.
Overall, Ivy the Kiwi? seems to be almost perfect. The game holds promise to be one of those few games that can perfectly capture the imaginations of the young and old alike. Ivy the Kiwi? is to be released later this year. For more information, visit www.xseedgames.com.