KAMI RETRO is a puzzler/platformer by GAMEVIL Inc. The first thing that attracted me to this game was its charming retro-style, pseudo-8-bit graphics. In this regard, the game does not disappoint.

The game draws you in with its simple and colorful style and light-hearted atmosphere. However, once you get into the actual game mechanics, it proves to be anything but simple. Through gestures, you’re goal is to guide your army of characters through each level, all of which are fraught with dangerous terrain and traps. These include alligators, bottomless pits, and other platformer-inspired perils.

It is clear that another inspiration for the game is the classic “Lemmings” in that you only have indirect control over your characters, and instead must prevent them from meandering their way into a grisly doom. You accomplish this by placing aids, including fans and other devices, in their path, as you gesture them to safety.

Along the way, you collect stars to unlock further levels and other bonuses. The game scores you as you play, so there’s always a reason to come back and play another round. However, I found many of the levels to be repetitive and often frustrating in their difficulty. Normally, I enjoy puzzlers and platformers, but when a game’s difficulty spikes with little or no warning, as KAMI RETRO tends to do, it simply turns me off instead of encouraging me to keep playing. To be fair, the game does offer a tutorial level whenever new mechanics are introduced so you don’t feel completely lost.

For what controls there are, the game handles solidly and it is clear that the game was designed for touchscreens and for players who take their gaming in bite-sized chunks. The sounds and music are a wonderful complement to the game’s graphics and you will likely find the music playing through your head even when you’re not playing the game.

Each group of levels has their own theme and visual style, including the introductory countryside, a spooky Halloween-themed series of stages, a groovy disco, and even a candy-themed stage. The game has over sixty levels to be unlocked, as well as having Game Center achievements and leaderboards.

I found myself surprised that I didn’t want to play more than a level or two at a time. Normally, games of this variety make me want to spend large chunks of time perfecting my skills and reaching a higher score. Instead, I often found myself simply wanting to complete a level and then switch to some other game. This is most likely no fault of the game itself, but moreso a result of the absurd amount of puzzle/platform games of quality that are currently available for iDevices. From Angry Birds to Cut the Rope, and a myriad of games in between, there is stiff competition against KAMI RETRO for your portable time and money.

In Conclusion

That said, it’s hard not to recommend KAMI RETRO to fans of the genre. Granted, you’re not flinging cute birds at pigs nor are you making adorable aliens bounce from platform to platform, KAMI RETRO has a charm all its own. I really feel that it deserves a shot, if only to experience the excellent graphics and obvious amount of love that went into crafting this game.