Overall Score 75%
Kinkin was the brightest student at the Bermuda Temple. Her skills were so great that she was chosen to learn the secrets of the Ancient Art, which none had ever mastered. Until she did. But something went horribly wrong - the Art took control of her, just for a minute, but enough time to decimate everything in its path. The Temple was destroyed, the students scattered. Kinkin was left alone with no memory of the Art, and chose to live a quiet life with her grandmother in the forest.
Then one day her granny disappears. An old friend arrives and tells Kinkin that her grandmother has been kidnapped, and so Kinkin sets out on her journey across the deadly forest to rescue her. All her skills are forgotten, but as she battles the frankly lethal wildlife she starts to absorb their abilities. Your task is to assist Kinkin on her journey, which basically means directing battles against... well, everything. Humble frogs, speedy wolves and agile monkeys are just the start.
The game plot is fairly simple, which is good, as the English is ropey and it's not clear sometimes what is going on. I'm not clear, for instance, whether Kinkin is looking to rescue her grandmother or the Temple's grandmaster, as both terms were used interchangably in-game. There are suggestions on Chicofruit's website that granny has a secret identity, and it is entirely possible that she IS the grandmaster. If the plot has told me this yet, I didn't realise. But hey! All this plot nonsense is not important. Kinkin (the game) is all about one thing - fighting!
A new game throws you straight into a fight, at which point the only way to defend yourself against the killer, um... frog... is to attack it. Repeatedly. Attacks are in batches of three punches/kicks; later, you can unlock special attacks triggered by certain combos of these. Defeat enemies, and you'll gain experience and cash, and you might unlock a new ability. Abilities (which need cash to activate or upgrade them) include combo attacks, spells (such as healing) and special abilities (such as counter attack, which gives you a free hit when an enemy strikes you). Successfully defeating an enemy allows you to move one space along the path to rescuing granny, and another fight. Or you can take a step back and thrash an earlier foe again. Kinkin levels up after enough experience, making her more powerful.
Combat is reminiscent of the Final Fantasy series' "active time battle" system. Kinkin and her opponent have both a hitpoint meter and a time meter. When the HP meter hits zero, you (or your foe) are dead. Don't panic if you fall in battle - you can always continue from your last point on the path. When your time meter is full, you can make your next move (attack, cast a spell, use an ability). The haste spell is useful here, as it makes your time meter fill faster for a short time. But while battles nicely pause to let you make your decisions, killing things quickly will net you bonus cash, so they are still tense and fast paced!
The graphics are quite simple and both the cartoon style and the animation have a manga feel. I would like to know what that bear is smiling about, though. Parents will be pleased to hear that, despite this being one of the most violent games I've ever played, there is no blood! Sound includes a range of sound effects (biff! whack! pow!) and some limited background music - I only counted about three tunes, not including the victory riff.
Kinkin is an easy game to learn. Controls are minimal, new attacks and abilities are introduced one at a time and you can always go back if you need to level up or gain more cash. As I type this, I have left the forest and entered the desert - my attacks and defences can now be boosted by rapid button pressing and I can steal from enemies. The range of options in combat steadily grows quite vast, and this allows for a surprising range of strategy. However, there is a sense of "sameness". There is only one game plot to speak of, and one path through the world. The enemies are fixed, though the combat is randomised. Your options are to continue your current game or start again. And since the game is entirely about combat, it lacks any form of exploration or the tactical use of equipment or any of the other staples of the RPGs that Kinkin so clearly models itself on. It's a fun game, just not a very deep one. That said, I think this is an excellent example of how a game developer should take on a major project - I can easily see Kinkin's combat engine becoming a central part of a bigger game.
Kinkin is fun, simple to get into and an inexpensive way to spend a little free time. And more than a little bit crazy. I rather like it. Now bring on the giant bear! I want to kill things again!
Keywords: kinkin review, chicofruit reviews, chicofruit games, kinkin scores, pc game reviews, indie game reviews, independent gaming.