Given all the shooting and action in most games nowadays, it is nice to see a game that takes a more laid back approach. Koi is one of those types of games. Its more likely to tug at your heartstrings than to tug out your heart.
Koi is a simple tale, one that lays it on thick when it comes to its message about our environment. Which wouldn’t be so bad if there was much of a coherent story at all. The player takes control of a little orange Koi Carp, who seems destined to bring some life back to his pond. This is done by searching the surrounding waters for other similarly brightly colored Koi. Once discovered, they must then be led to various dead flowers, in order to bring life to them. This will then, in most cases, unblock the progressing path.
There are a few puzzles thrown in to the mix, which need to be solved in to order to move forward. But these are all memory based puzzles, and never really taxed my brain too much. In fact, there were only about three of them in the whole game. A game which is rather short. There are also some environmental obstacles to worry about as well, from large, over-bearing black Koi, to electrical dangers. These never pose an issue though, as there is no fail state for the game. Get hit, and I just lost the ability to move for a few seconds.
Koi really isn’t about finding a challenge. It’s more about sitting back and taking it easy, and this is never more apparent than in the game’s presentation. Oasis Games have tried very hard to create a look and sound with Koi that relaxes the player, but really only succeeded with the sound. Each stage has its own theme, and they are mostly very soothing. The visuals however let the game down somewhat. I found the colors way too bright in the levels set in the day, while they went in the completely opposite direction for a few of the later levels, making the world seem dark and depressing. Yes, I’m sure that was the point; trying to set a tone for a game that has an ecological message. But I found this message ham-fisted, and as such found the levels to be either too brash, or too dull.
There’s also the issue of the menu screen, and it’s an odd issue. It’s not complicated and there are only a few icons to choose from, but the way that it is laid out made it hard for me to actually know how to start the game. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I spent about 3 minutes trying to start the game. It’s a small complaint, and easily solved once I figured it out. But none the less, it seems like an oversight.
Koi isn’t a bad game. It just lacks content and a level of polish found in even the smallest of indie games these days. It’s a game that you can load up and just explore, without too much threat involved. But in the same breath, don’t expect too much back in return.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.