Kick & Fennick is a 2.5D puzzle platformer in where you take control of a kid called Kick and immediately find a high tech rifle lying on the ground. The unique thing about this title is that you don’t actually jump but must fire your rifle to use it’s extreme recoil to launch you through the air. It’s a very simple game where the only actions you have is to move and shoot but while starting off deceptively easy it will truly test your mettle later on. There are three difficulty modes to choose from, them being Easy, Normal and Hard. Easy will give you infinite “lives” while the other two increase the penalty for death. You are accompanied by a small flying robot named Fennick that’s only in game use is for it to rescue you from certain death and teleport you back to safety. Due to events at the start of the game it’s battery is leaking out all of it’s energy and it can only rescue you a certain amount of times before it runs out of power to save you assuming you are not playing on Easy.
Scattered around the levels are plenty energy nodes that refill a portion of Fennicks energy meter. There are 50 on each stage and are encouraged but not demanded to collect as many as you can. It leads to some interesting decisions where you may want to save those nodes for later in case you run low on energy trying to get through an area though actually managing to get across may cause you to miss out on those nodes. Usually well hidden in the levels are a single giant gear whose only purpose is to unlock more costumes after a certain amount collected. None of these collectibles are necessary and yield no real rewards so it becomes a matter if you are fine with leaving shiny objects behind in a video game. There are 5 Episodes and 45 levels overall which last at most 10 minutes making it a pretty solid choice for a portable game. The only differences between the worlds are their difficulty as pretty much all environments look the same from start to finish.
Graphics themselves look great for a Vita title with 3D models, plenty of detail and plenty of color placed around the levels. Whenever you aim your gun time will slow down allowing you more time to adjust your arc and where you are expected to land which is not always accurate. Once in the air you can fire off another round to once again propel you to where you need to go. You only have two shots to rely on and it becomes pretty vital later on that you make them count. The only way to refill your rounds is to simply stand on the ground. Sounds easy but with a myriad of objects like gravitational pulls, bouncing pads, lighting, and much more it can be quite a challenge to get to the next piece of stable land. Even if you manage to get across there may be a switch that you need to shoot which means that you are out of luck if you ran out of ammo so it’s best to think before you “jump” and get a good idea of how you can survive the ordeal. It expects utter perfection out of you and by the third world I was starting to struggle on just the Normal difficulty and by the end of it will take true skills.
While it looks like a game for children it is far from it in terms of difficulty. On occasion you will run across a red wall mounted object that supercharges your rifle and thrusts you across a far larger area than normal. It’s pretty fun to fling yourself server feet through the air and there is no fall damage in this title so smacking against a wall then falling several feet below yields no consequences. Unfortunately the supercharge never shows up in later levels which is both weird and a shame. You are not alone in these levels. Roaming these empty halls are a bunch of hostile robots out for your blood. It can be rather strange to get used to actually firing at the enemy instead of launching yourself at them out of habit. Robots are not much of a threat and all the times they managed to kill are when they were just off camera and lounge at you. If you are to run out of energy and lose you will be returned to the start of the levels with everything the way that it was before only you will still have the collectible gear if you have found it.
At the end of each Episode you will face off against the same robot dog boss and most either escape him or damage him until it’s immobile for a while. These are mostly puzzle based and very easy compared to the real levels. Why are the robots trying to kill you? Why is the place abandoned and why you are there are some of the questions that will never be answered as there is extremely little in the way of story to be found here. Most of your time will be spent listening to ambiance such as birds chirping but what little music there is is typically pretty good. One thing I must mention is the game tends to freeze a lot while loading up a new level. Nothing serious but something worth noting. Kick and Fennick is a simple yet surprisingly challenging title. There is not much replay value other than trying to collect all the nodes but it will take either a few hours or a dozen to complete all 45 your first time around depending on your skill level. I wouldn’t call it a memorable title but it is a very enjoyable experience that fans of puzzle platformers may want to check out.