Review – Kinetic Edge

Sometimes, all I want to play is a simple game with no protagonists, story or anything to care about, especially after tackling a long game with a complex story. Kinetic Edge showed up right after dealing with the brain-melting (but awesome) story from Control. It’s a game in which you control a morphing polygon and all you need to do is reach the goal at the end of a level. Simple, straightforward, no questions asked. A game like this can either become a hit or a surefire disaster, depending on how well-designed its mechanics and levels are.

In Kinetic Edge‘s case, I can almost consider it a hit. It has a lot of good things in its favor, but it suffers a bit due to its clear low budget and some design choices. Let’s take a look at this bad boy.

Kinetic Edge

Being a literal cube in a game can actually be quite fun.

In Kinetic Edge, you pick a mode, a map, then find a way to reach the end of the course by taking advantage of (or in some cases, having to put up with) the various shapes your polygon will morph into along the way. Think of it as Marble Madness on steroids, with a morphing marble that can freely jump whenever it wants. Oh, and with a nigh unhealthy amount of neon lights surrounding it.

Kinetic Edge‘s main mode is Race, which is pretty self-explanatory. First mutant polygon to reach the finish line wins. Besides the (admittedly wonky and glitchy) jumping and dashing mechanics, your polygon can also perform a small pulse attack, which works wonders whenever there’s an opponent near you. It’s even more gratifying when you push a competitor off a high platform. Other modes included in here are your standard arena brawl, a procedurally generated maze time trial, which is arguably the game’s highlight, crazy golf, and an ultra hard timed race called The Gauntlet.

Kinetic Edge

A terrible acid trip inside a nightclub.

I’ll give the developers credit for shoving in as much content as they possibly could. There are tons of different modes to tackle and tons of different well-designed (albeit occasionally frustrating) maps. With that being said, this game isn’t exactly addicting. I enjoyed playing it in shorter bursts, not only because of its simplistic nature, but because its presentation was way too taxing on the senses.

While I do like the Tron-esque aesthetics and neon colors, the sheer amount of lights in Kinetic Edge is a freaking assault on your retinas. You’re constantly bombarded with stupidly strong light flashes from all directions. It even managed to irritate my eyesight even though I wear blue light glasses. Then there’s the issue with the soundtrack as well, which is comprised of really short electronic beats looped ad nauseum. For as much as Kinetic Edge‘s gameplay works, its presentation does what it can to make me not want to play it.

It’s borderline blinding, but hey, it’s great level design.

I enjoyed Kinetic Edge‘s simple premise, amount of content and gameplay loop, but I got beyond annoyed with its presentation. It’s a perfect game to spend a few dozen minutes at a time, though. Pick up a mode, play a few levels, try to beat your scores or defeat other players, and then give your damaged eyeballs a well-deserved rest. I’m also looking forward to an eventual Switch port; this game would fit like a glove in that system.

 

Graphics: 6.0

While I do like the Tron-esque aesthetics and neon colors, the sheer amount of lights in Kinetic Edge is a freaking assault on your eyesight.

Gameplay: 7.5

It’s completely physics-based. I liked the variety of shapes and the overall level design for the most part, but I disliked how wonky the jumping and dashing mechanics are.

Sound: 4.5

The soundtrack is comprised of stupidly short electronic tunes that are looped every two to three seconds. You’re better off playing this game on mute.

Fun Factor: 7.5

Kinetic Edge has a neat concept, occasionally good physics, and tons of different modes. It’s quite a repetitive experience, but it’s actually pretty fun in short bursts.

Final Verdict: 7.0

Kinetic Edge is available now on PC.

Reviewed on PC.

A copy of Kinetic Edge was provided by the publisher.