- Format: PC
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Versus Evil
- Developer: Tangrin Entertainment
- Players: 1
- Site: http://www.kyn-game.com/
- Game code provided by publisher
Kyn is Kyn-d of good (yes we’ve used this pun before and we’ll damn well use it again!); it’s fun, filled with colour and charm, and has a lot of ideas that are all executed to at least a “good” standard if not better. It all ends with Kyn being a rather good game, but one that perhaps draws on a little too long and there are a few nitpicks to be had here and there.
Combat is really the main staple of the game; sure there are plot, puzzles and RPG-style skill and equipment – but when it comes down to it, it’s all about getting your “Magni Warriors” and whoever decides to follow them into battle to beat enemies to death however you see fit. And it all works really well.
Positioning is key. You have to keep moving to avoid the nastier attacks – moving at the right moment can, surprisingly, dodge arrows; as well as get you out of the way of nasty spells and anything else that might come your way. It adds micromanagement to what is a very small party size for much of the game. Thankfully this is made more manageable by the slow time mechanic that not only allows you to slow time down to give orders, but also shows you what each character is up to so you know who they are attacking or where they’re moving to.
On Normal difficulty you likely won’t need it that often, as you’ll probably be kitted out to win 9 out of 10 fights simply by right clicking on the bad guys and watching as your team dismantles them. It’s only a small number of times that you’ll have to slow things down on Normal, as the fact that equipment that you can buy or craft is so powerful – and so readily available – means that you feel like most of the game is a breeze. Though this only kicks in around the fifth or sixth mission, when you’ve finally picked up enough materials (because you’ve scoured the map for every last hidden cache) to make items that seem so powerful you won’t even need to replace some of them for over half the game.
Skills are the only elements that make the warriors feel different; you gain points to put into mind, body or control, which more or less equate to wizard/cleric, fighter and ranger/rogue respectively. There is a fairly vast array of skills to choose from but it’s a very slim choice for a large portion of the game, which is made worse still by the fact that that each of the three has to cater to multiple roles; so much of what you really want is tucked away at the later levels. You start with a small party but you gain characters both temporarily and permanently throughout, though you can’t customise their skills – which makes it difficult to enjoy having them around for anything other than cannon fodder.
It means that if you want a really good rogue type character then you’ll have to wait a significant amount of missions before you can really get skills for it, and wizards feel very pigeonholed into keeping heal “just in case”. On the flipside, you can reallocate skill points and skills anytime outside of battle, meaning you get to really play around with playstyles – so long as you have to equipment to hand. It also means that the Resurrection skill can be used for quests without compromising your characters’ builds.
There’s a town hub that you visit after every mission, which at first is great; people to talk to, a place to explore, side missions to find and crafting/buying/selling to sort out. Then the next time you return the map is reset, so now it’s not really clear if any of the side missions are available, unless you trawl your way over to who you think may give you something to do. It makes something potentially interesting a chore very quickly.
When we previewed Kyn a while back, one of the levels we played for the preview dropped a very interesting note for the story that is either going to be followed up in a possible sequel (fingers crossed) or is left open for people to speculate over. It’s actually a level very late into the game and nothing really is made of it, so the final stretch of the story (in terms of the written words) is far less grand and interesting, and sort of peters out towards the climax.
That’s not to say that the story is bad, but it’s just not consistently interesting after the first handful of missions. It still has some high points but they ultimately lead to fairly disappointing resolutions. It also doesn’t help that the enemy that you’re fighting for most of the game is a race that the Magni warriors’ people have enslaved. It’s hard to find your characters likeable when they’re unhappy that their slaves have turned the tide on them.
Kyn is an interesting game. It looks lovely, has some great ideas, but ultimately takes too long to let you play with a lot of things. Some missions are about as tedious as they come and others show how it can really shine. The way slowing time, positioning, and skills are used is great in combat and the little side quests and puzzles (which there aren’t enough of, though they are really good) really add pacing to levels between the ‘click on a group of enemies, kill, move on’. Unfortunately, the game does a few small things wrong to annoy players; but you have to be cruel to be Kyn.