Game Review: Kona’s Crate
I was never big on mobile games. Probably because I didn’t even own a smart phone until last October. Wait, stop traffic, I didn’t have a smart phone before? Well excuse me for having my priorities in life. But I digress. Now that the fall game season is at a close and I’ve managed to chip away at my list of games that I still need to beat (Skyrim anyone?) I’ve found the time to start playing some mobile games. One little gem that I have recently had the chance to play was Kona’s Crate for the Android and iOS.
What is this Kona’s Crate you ask? Developed by Dark Wind Media, Kona’s Crate is a puzzle game that has the player (that’s right you) try to get a wooden crate from one end of the level to the other and into the arms of a Mayan chief (or Aztec I can’t really tell). Oh and the crate is on a platform with two rockets attached to it in case you were wondering, which let’s face it, of course you were. The platform is controlled by pressing the left and right side of the screen with each side controlling their respective rocket (or booster if you want to get technical with me). That’s the whole game in a nutshell. I’m serious that’s all there is to playing the game. Oh but you want me to dive deeper don’t you?
In a way, Kona’s Crate has a structure like Angry Birds. There are 5 sections and each section has 20 levels though you can play any section without having to play the previous one. The first 5 levels are unlocked in each section and only after playing those levels do you unlock the next set. The game however doesn’t run on a score system. Each level gives you the chance to earn a 3 star rating based on the time it takes to complete the level. And while the game tell you the time you need to beat, the time set to each course in order to get more stars never quite matches the difficulty of the levels. In some levels you have a solid 20 seconds to get 2/3 stars, but the level is so easy you beat it 8 seconds. Other times you have less than 20 seconds and the level is like navigating through a maze.
The difficulty is just way off in this game. Whereas most games the difficulty progresses upwards here it is all over the place. Some levels will be easy then hard then easy and so on. While it does make it challenging it can be pretty frustrating since it doesn’t ease you into the difficulty. I went through a few levels and then suddenly there are blocks that move and mess up my flight path. Oh and did I mention they just throw in crates of TNT that explode on impact? Well they got those too and those suckers just come out of nowhere. At least other games give you a heads up. It’s like your GPS telling you to make a turn at the last second.
Oh and by the way if you’re a completionist, you know, one of those gamers that has to earn every star rating on every level, I warn you by all that is holy to not play this game. It will consume your life. The level design and gameplay make it pretty hard to get those 3 stars. The physics in the game is so sensitive that the slightest bump against a wall sends the crate into a barrel roll. And if you want to be a complete masochist you want to play the game using the expert controls. On the normal controls the crate is tied to the platform it’s on, but on the expert controls that sucker slides all over the place like it was covered in baby oil. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to throw my phone against the wall. Sorry if I’m not hardcore enough for you guys.
The graphics are consistent throughout the game. While they did a great job of keeping to the Mayan (or Aztec) theme it can get old looking at the same stone patterns. And you’ve got to wonder why each time you get the crate to the chief why he slaps his belly in joy? There’s nothing in the crate except for whatever stars you manage to earn. Why is the jolly fat guy so happy?! Aside from that the music fits and can be pretty catchy at times though it would be nice if there were more variation other than the songs made for each section. But it’s a mobile phone game so I guess you get what you pay for.
Overall the game runs smoothly. Before each level you can zoom in and out on the level to see what you’re supposed to do which helps a lot since you won’t be blindsided by the crazy level designs. And while I’ve had more frustration with playing this game either to bad level design or the fact that I may suck at this game, it is fun to play and for that I’ll throw it a bone. I mean after all that is the point of games. It’s fun, it’s addicting, and it may make you break your phone so I would recommend this to the more casual player just looking to waste some time.