Prope brings an inventive gameplay mechanic to accompany their storybook setting.
Yuji Naka's latest game, the oddly-punctuated Ivy the Kiwi?, begins with an egg falling out of the sky into a forest. Ivy, a red bird, partially hatches from the egg, realizes that her mother is nowhere to be seen, and sets out to find her. Players must guide Ivy in her quest. Backed by an upbeat soundtrack, Ivy the Kiwi? features a very distinctive art style, emulating pencil-drawn and woodblock-printed storybooks of the past.
Much like its art style, the game uses a unique control scheme similar in nature to the one found in Kirby's Canvas Curse. Instead of controlling Ivy directly, players draw vines in the two-dimensional world using the Wii Remote pointer, which Ivy can walk across. In their absence, Ivy continually walks forward, reversing direction when coming upon a wall. These linear vines are anchored at one point, and can be stretched and spun around until their second point is anchored. Up to four vines may be placed at a time, and they can also be stretched like rubber bands to slingshot Ivy through obstacles.
Ivy the Kiwi? begins easy, only requiring players to help the bird over some large blocks, but quickly introduces a variety of hazards such as spikes, pits, and a whole cast of enemies. While the controls are unconventional, they are quickly mastered. Players will soon find themselves quickly flinging vine after vine, propelling Ivy to her goal through increasingly-labyrinthine levels. Though the game can be taken at a slower pace, attempting to complete levels quickly makes the game very fun and engaging.
Throughout the stages, a number of bonus feathers are strewn about, providing an additional challenge for completionists. The game also keeps track of best scores and times for each level, challenging players to best themselves. Once reached in story mode, levels can be practiced at leisure.
The game also includes a crazy multiplayer mode: up to four players can play simultaneously on a split screen, racing to reach the goal. Not only can players draw vines on their own sub-screen, but they can also draw vines on others' screens in an attempt to impede their competitors' progress, resulting in frantic competition.
Ivy the Kiwi? couples a distinctive charm with a unique, but surprisingly fun and intuitive game mechanic in a way that is strangely effective. The retail versions include over 100 levels and are available for Wii and DS, while the downloadable versions include 50 levels.