REVIEW / Kinetic Edge (PC)
I’m a sucker for neon vector-style graphics. I don’t know why, exactly, but I’m willing to try any game that looks like that. So it was with Kinectic Edge, a new game on Steam from SCT, which uses bright colors and geometry for a fairly unique racing game, with other modes included as well. It takes more than enticing visuals to game for a good game, though, so let’s see if Kinetic Edge has what it takes.
Gameplay is pretty simple, so it’s a good game to pick up and play. In the main race mode, you control a sphere or other geometric shape in a 3D environment that you need to navigate. There are checkpoints setup throughout, which is good, because some of the platforming can be tricky. The goal is just to reach the end of the course first. I appreciate some good platforming, but I have to admit that some of the obstacles in the levels just kind of feel cheap. For example, there are several areas covered in dash panels that will send your ball (or other shape) careening off course with no way to mitigate it. In some locations your ball will become another shape whether you like it or not, and this is a mixed bag. When it works well, it’s fun to try to roll different shapes around and keep them going in the right direction; that’s the kind of challenge I like. But a lot of the time, the shapes don’t tumble at all; instead, they just slide along very slowly. There were several times when I intentionally angled my shape to make it tumble, even if that made it harder, just to make things more interesting.
There are a few other modes to note, but they’re definitely more extras than they are key parts of the game. The golf mode is a fun diversion, but the control isn’t really precise enough to be competitive. It’s also mini golf rather than actual golf, and I’m pretty sure you can find better mini golf games than this one. The maze mode is exactly what it sounds like: a maze that you need to navigate. It’s very hard to do this when the viewpoint is behind the ball, and overall the mode just felt tedious. Finally, the Gauntlet mode doesn’t play very differently from the racing mode; it’s just a long obstacle course without checkpoints. I freely admit I didn’t get far in this one, but the gameplay is no different.
Ultimately, where Kinetic Edge suffers is that it doesn’t have anything to give it an “edge.” It’s similar to several other games, and it lacks anything that makes it stand out. I think its gimmick is supposed to be the different shapes, but they aren’t implemented well enough to be much of a draw. Now, none of that means it isn’t a fun game, though, and I have no complaints at all about the awesome neon visuals. But is it worth your money? Only if you intend to play it with friends, I would say. And only if you’re willing to make the differing shapes work like I did.
Lots of Kinetic, but little Edge
+ Neon vector graphics
+ Gameplay is sometimes fun
– Other modes don’t add much
– Other shapes don’t work well